Yes, I know those words were stolen and used (wrongly) as the basis of an anti-Semitism claim against a long-standing Labour Party member. I’m stealing them back.
They were originally spoken by civil rights legend Martin Luther King, referring to the fact that every move to strip away the rights of his people was legitimised by Adolf Hitler in laws passed by his Nazi government.
Now the Conservative Government is following exactly the same pattern, here in the UK.
New powers, passed by the Tories, have been used by housing minister Gavin Barwell to stop development plans in Bradford, despite those plans having won public approval – because Shipley MP Philip Davies doesn’t like them.
The concern about building on greenfield land would appear to be a front. According to the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), there are plans to build more than a quarter of a million houses on green belt land, due to Tory relaxation of planning rules.
So now the Tories get to decide where we can build our houses – on green belt land if they like – but only on land they choose. And they’ll stop any plan they don’t like – as favours to each other.
But don’t worry – it’s all legal. Just like in Nazi Germany.
The Government’s Housing Minister has been accused of blocking the building of thousands of homes as a “mate’s favour” to a fellow Conservative MP who complained about them.
Gavin Barwell used his powers as a minister to intervene and suspend development plans in Bradford after a request from Tory colleague Philip Davies, putting them under potentially indefinite review.
In a letter seen by The Independent the minister wrote to Bradford Metropolitan District Council to tell them he was using his powers under the Planning Act to direct them not to proceed until he gave them further notice.
The letter explicitly cites complaints by Mr Davies, the MP for Shipley, as the reason for the suspension of the project, which has been nine years in the planning. The minister’s intervention invokes new powers the government granted itself earlier this year.
“The Secretary of State has received a request to intervene in the Bradford Core Strategy Development Plan (“The Plan”) from Philip Davies, MP for Shipley,” the letter to the council says.
“The request raises a number of issues including the proposed release of green belt, particularly in Wharfedale, development of green belt before brownfield land is exhausted … and the appropriate location for development to alleviate housing need and contribute to the regeration of Bradford city centre.”
Mr Barwell’s letter prompted Labour’s shadow Housing Minister John Healey to write to Mr Barwell’s boss, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid.
“This week, the Housing Minister in your department wrote to Bradford Council directing them to halt the adoption of their development plan which would build more homes for the people of Bradford. Despite all stages of consultation and approval – from local people, council and Planning Inspector – being completed, this action stops the plan’s adoption in its tracks,” he wrote.
“According to the Housing Minister this decision was taken merely because a fellow Conservative MP wrote in complaint. There is no attempt by the Minister to defend the substance of the complaint. Without justification, his decision to intervene smacks of a political ‘mate’s favour’.”
A DCLG spokesperson described the suspension of development as a “holding decision” and said it was issued because of concerns about building on greenbelt land.
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