Labour presses cabinet minister to explain how a Tory donor was granted a lucrative property deal
- Credit: PA
Labour is pressing the housing minister, Robert Jenrick, to explain his involvement in granting a £1 billion property deal to an influential Tory donor.
The cabinet minster approved a planning decision for a 1,500-home build by property developer Richard Desmond, a wealthy Tory donor who handed over £12,000 to the party weeks after his plans were given the green light.
Jenrick has admitted Desmond - former owner of the Daily Express - lobbied him during a party fundraiser in November last year but said he refused to take the developer's wishes on board.
You may also want to watch:
The government later rubber-stamped the development, which came a day before a planned council tax hike which could have cost Desmond £40 million.
- 1 The biggest scandal may be that no rules were broken
- 2 A chapter is over for Britain, for good or ill
- 3 Russell Kane: Why working class people like Boris Johnson
- 4 BBC journalist admits being 'haunted' by fear broadcaster 'built up' Nigel Farage and UKIP
- 5 Welsh government takes Westminster to court over post-Brexit bill
- 6 Alan Duncan should have spoken out sooner about Boris Johnson
- 7 The deep-seated issues beneath Sofagate
- 8 Ulster Unionism's crisis of faith
- 9 The only Brexit export boom is from UK businesses rushing to Europe
- 10 EU president faces fresh calls to resign over 'disastrous' Covid vaccine programme
Shadow housing minister Mike Amesbury has accused Jenrick of showing bias in his decisions and is calling for greater transparency over the deal after details of the donation surfaced in the media.
'This is yet another indication that Robert Jenrick's unlawful decision to approve this planning decision against the wishes of the local council was done to benefit Richard Desmond, a wealthy Tory donor, to the tune of millions of pounds,' Amesbury said.
'This latest revelation comes hours after Jenrick announced new plans to remove planning decisions from locally elected councillors, enabling ministers to take more decisions over the heads of local communities for the benefit of their wealthy friends.'
'Robert Jenrick should come clean and publish all correspondence with Richard Desmond about this case - otherwise the public will be entitled to think it's one rule for the Conservatives and their wealthy friends, and another rule for everyone else.'
Jenrick has removed himself from any decision concerning the project and told a judge during a High Court challenge by a London local council that the decision may have been 'unlawful'.
It is understood Jenrick went against the advice of his own planning inspector to approve the development in East London.
The government has said its policies are not influenced by political donations. A Tory spokesperson said: 'Government policy is in no way influenced by party donations – they are entirely separate.
'Donations to the Conservative Party are properly and transparently declared to the Electoral Commission, published by them, and comply fully with the law.'
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.