Tory rebellion forces Sunak to delay critical vote on planning laws

PMQs: Blackford and Sunak clash over Supreme Court ruling

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Tory splits between red wall MPs and those in true blue seats erupted over the Prime Minister’s planning reforms.

Mr Sunak was forced to pull a vote on legislation that would set a target of building 300,000 homes per year after dozens of his backbenchers threatened to rebel.

But former Cabinet minister Simon Clarke said the Government will lose the election unless it helps people onto the housing ladder with a building spree.

He said: “If you want to see what the future of the Conservatives is when we don’t build homes, look at London.  

“Our collapsing vote in the capital is at least in part because you can’t make the case for popular Conservatism if you can’t afford to buy, or even rent.

“The flip side, why can we win in areas like Teesside?  It’s at least in part because if you are a nurse or a teacher, you can still afford a proper family home.  

“This isn’t rocket science – it’s economics and politics 101.”

He added: “We also have to recognise this is an issue where Conservatives bear a heavy responsibility. Politicians of all parties play games with this. But we are meant to be the party of opportunity, and we are pulling up the ladder for everyone under 40.”

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt acknowledged the difficulties faced by people trying to buy their first home and said planning rules often set “local communities against the national need to build more houses”.

He said: “We are very aware of the difficulty that young people have getting on to the housing ladder and we are also very aware of shortcomings in the planning system.

“The root problem that I, as Chancellor, have to look at is the way that incentives are not aligned across the planning system.

“We do need to ask ourselves why it is that the way our planning rules work often sets local communities against the national need to build more houses and how we can improve that.

“That’s certainly something that I will be looking at.”

The 2019 Tory manifesto set a target of building 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “That commitment remains. When it comes to housing, we want to build more homes in the right places, we are committed to that goal, which is by the mid-2020s.

“We recognise that coming out of the pandemic that is a more challenging situation but we remain committed to that.”

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