Des’ proposed development was to be on the site of the former Westferry Print Works. As the Guardian noted, “Against the advice of his own planning inspector, the minister gave the go-ahead for the construction of more than 1,500 apartments in a 44-storey complex on 14 January. Jenrick’s decision was made just 24 hours before the Tower Hamlets [Community Infrastructure Levy] would have cost Desmond at least £40m”. Hmmm.
What’s the CIL about? “CILs were to be used to tax large property developments at £280 per square metre with the cash raised channelled back into the council area for building schools and health clinics”. Meanwhile, the BBC has told that “It later emerged Mr Jenrick had sat next to Mr Desmond at a Conservative Party fundraising dinner in November 2019” and that Des “personally gave the Conservative Party £12,000 two weeks after the scheme was approved, in January”. Not much of a mess of pottage in that sale, then.
He faced claims of “cash for favours”. He “approved the plan in January this year, overruling both Tower Hamlets Council and a planning inspector … [but] subsequently reversed the ruling following legal action by the council, admitting that what he did was ‘unlawful by reason of apparent bias’”. Maybe we should see ALL the documents.
Meanwhile, the voters of Newark-on-Trent may be asking “Why us again?” After all, their last Tory MP Patrick Mercer was forced out after being caught participating in what was at the time called “Paid advocacy”, or, er, “Cash for favours”. In his place came Robert Jenrick, a presentable young man and breath of fresh air, who is now being accused of, er “Paid advocacy”. Their last Labour MP was accused of electoral malpractice.
All those good Conservative voting people, not so much in Newark as in the villages scattered around the constituency, must be wondering how they end the curse.
They disposed of one bent MP. Now the suspicion is growing they may have another.