Boris Johnson faces Tory revolt grows over party reforms

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BORIS JOHNSON is facing his fourth and possibly worst backbench revolt over proposed planning reforms.

Brexit, tax rises and Covid-19 restrictions have caused unease, but the Government’s effort to raise house building to historically high levels has sparked fury. In a bid to avert a major rebellion, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick visited a housing development being built by Prince Charles’s Duchy of Cornwall estate. Mr Jenrick is understood to have spent three hours at the 4,000-home Nansledan extension to Newquay, which the Prince, believes is an example of acceptable development.

But Tory MPs say mass development will hit their green-space constituencies hardest.

One said: “Local authorities are being asked to designate protected land but also being handed targets for annual house building – which essentially means they cannot protect land because they will be punished if they miss the targets.”

North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen said: “I’m furious about it. My local authority has been doing the right thing by building 1,000 houses a year.

“But it is now being punished with an even higher allocation of 1,500 a year, one of the highest in the country, while areas [that]have had virtually no building have low allocations.

“There won’t be any green space left in my constituency.” A senior Tory backbencher said: “Jenrick has been told to his face that if he presses ahead without changes he will have 250 Conservative MPs out to get him. He’ll have no political friends.”

The Prime Minister also faces threats of rebellion if he tries to raise taxes to pay for the virus crisis or bring in a second national lockdown.

Dozens of Tory MPs say they are prepared to force Mr Johnson’s hand by voting down Bills – and even the Budget.

One MP said: “The parliamentary party will not accept tax rises, full stop.”

Another stated: “Most of the parliamentary party now think the first lockdown was a mistake.

“We just won’t accept a second.”

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