Labour calls for parliamentary watchdog to probe whether Jenrick breached code of conduct

Robert Jenrick

Robert Jenrick - Credit: PA

Labour has called on the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards to investigate whether housing secretary Robert Jenrick breached the code of conduct for MPs over a controversial planning decision.

The move follows Jenrick's move to support a £1 billion development in east London backed by Tory donor and former media mogul Richard Desmond.

Jenrick is fighting to keep his job after documents revealed the extent of the contact between himself and Desmond before the Cabinet minister signed off on the 1,500-home Westferry Printworks scheme.

The cabinet minister originally gave the development the go-ahead in January 2020, overruling both Tower Hamlets Council and a planning inspector.

He subsequently reversed the ruling following legal action by the council, admitting that what he did was 'unlawful by reason of apparent bias'.

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Labour has branded the issue a 'cash for favours scandal', but prime minister Boris Johnson has said he considers the matter to be closed.

Jenrick has dismissed allegations over the matter as 'outrageous' and 'wild'.

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Labour's shadow communities and local government secretary, Steve Reed said: 'The prime minister can't just sweep this issue under the carpet.

'There are still so many unanswered questions about Robert Jenrick's unlawful attempt to help Richard Desmond dodge £150 million in tax days before he made a generous donation to the Conservative Party.

'The prime minister has yet again shown woefully poor judgment by not referring clear breaches of the Ministerial Code to the cabinet secretary and he must now come clean himself about his own involvement in this case.

'The government must publish all the remaining secret documents in this case to show the public what Mr Jenrick and the prime minister were really up to and prove that this is not the start of a new era of Tory sleaze.'

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