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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Black

Blancmanges and Flip Flops at Dawn.

Well we all know what happened. Sunak bottled it on housing numbers. Messrs Ricketts, Simons and Spry all give a much better insight into the background and implications than I ever possibly could.

I listened in to PMQs today and it confirmed everything I already knew. This government is an utter car crash and things are looking bleak. Very bleak. In the red corner. Kier Starmer. Raring to have a pop at yet another shambles. Where to start…...Strikes? "Baroness" Mone? Nope straight in there with housing. Like a massive haymaker in a fight in a pub car park Sunak in the blue corner knew it was coming.

KS – Mr Speaker, the conservative party promised the country it would build 300,000 houses a year. This week, without asking a single voter, the Prime Minister broke the promise by scrapping mandatory targets. What changed?

RS – The honourable gentleman comes here every week, and I know he’s focused on the process and the politics but I don’t think he has actually taken the time to read the detail of what we are doing to improve our planning system. Let me just explain what we are doing….

1) We are protecting the green belt

'Rahhhhhh' from those behind him.

2) We are developing millions to develop brownfield sites


Millions? It's going to take more than millions pal. And as Lichfields have previously shown time and time again. There isn’t enough brownfield land to go round. But more importantly - it is just not going to solve our housing crisis. He's going to need a lot more than 'Millions' - maybe he should ask "Baroness" More for some of hers back?

3) We are providing support and protection for local neighbourhood plans


Protection? Like they are some sort of endangered species. If you threw a dart in a map of the south east your more likely than not to hit an area with a neighbourhood plan. And if they haven’t got one – there is probably one in production.

Just this morning the shadow housing secretary said ‘communities should have control over where homes are built'.

Yes Rishi but Miss Nandy has also called out the government for simply not doing enough to deliver decent homes.

That’s my position, that's her position, whats yours ?

KS – Does he really expect us to believe that the Member for Chipping Barnet [he means Theresa Villers] and the Member for the Isle of Wight [he means Bob Seely] are cheering him on because he's going to build more homes – pull the other one. I’ll tell you what changed. His back benchers threatened him and as ever the blancmange prime minister wobbled. He did a grubby deal with a handful of his mps and sold out the aspirations of those who want to own their home. Was it worth it?

That is 100% what he did. He absolutely sold his soul to the back bench rebellion. And of course it wasn’t worth it. This is rearranging the deck chairs on the titanic. The government know they have 2 years max before another election. They know they are at risk of losing ground in the tory shires. This is shit or bust from Sunak. Give those people what they want to hear. Get re-elected. Spend another 5 years making a total cock up of things. Of course it wasn't worth it.

RS – As ever, engaging in the petty personality politics not focused on the substance. Let me explain again what we are doing. We are doing what I said we were going to do.

What chuffing substance - you haven't provided any. Just a u-turn with detail to follow.

1) We are protecting the character of local communities.

Wait - I thought they already did that with the Building Beautiful Commission?

2) We are cracking down on land banking and irresponsible developers.

Hang on – Oliver Letwin looked at this a few years back and found very little evidence of landbanking.

3) We’re giving people a greater say in decisions.

At this rate there isn’t much to decide on. Also - wasn't that what localism was all about? What's this then? 'Localism Max'???? Christ!!

RS - Just this week, on Monday the honourable member said we should be giving people more power and control. Now he seems to be opposing that policy. Its only Wednesday. I know he flip flops but even for him that’s pretty quick.

Errrrr and you don’t call breaking a manifesto pledge flip flopping? Although they also said they weren't going to raise taxes. Enough said.

KS – last week I offered him labour votes to pass his housing targets. The former housing secretary on their side said scrapping mandatory housing targets would be a colossal failure of political leadership [he means The Saj - and yes he did say that]. No wonder he doesn’t want to fight the next election. The author of the manifestothat they all stood on said it would cut building by 40% perhaps even more [he means Robert Colville and yes - he did say that too] . Why would he rather cripple housebuilding than work with us to get those targets through?

And cripple it will. The economic impact of this will be equally colossal. Of anyone in Government you would think that the former chancellor would be alive to that. He probably is. But none of that matters – we’re saving the green belt!

RS – We’re not going to work with labour party on housing. You know why? Look at their record on housing. In London the former conservative mayor in 5 years built 60,000 affordable homes. The current Labour Mayor – half of that amount. In Wales, we want to build 12,000 homes, what have they been delivering, half of that. The Labour Party talks, the Conservative Party delivers.

Yep the Conservative party delivers!!! It delivers sleaze, broken promises and the rapid destabilising of a multi-billion industry in the space of a single day.

Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive

AB - my own thoughts


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