Tories slammed for 'appalling' decision to push through crucial housing law at 3am

Labour blasted the decision to rush through a six-hour debate on the Housing Bill - which includes plans to end lifelong council tenancies

Housing stock pictures....House, rooftops, home, for sale

Crucial: The law includes 'affordable' homes costing £450,000

The Tories have been slammed for an "appalling" decision to push through key stages of a housing law at 3am.

Labour blasted ministers tonight for rushing through a six-hour debate on the Housing Bill - which includes plans to end lifelong tenancies for council homes .

The divisive law also launches 'affordable' homes costing £450,000 in London and paves the way for privatised planning applications.

Yet key clauses will only be debated after midnight because the government refused to move the debate.

Tory ministers also wrote 65 pages of new clauses and amendments "at the last minute", said furious shadow communities minister Roberta Blackman-Woods.

She warned MPs: "Most planning organisations and agencies have simply had no time to assess what these changes will mean for them.

"This is simply appalling and means there will be no proper scrutiny in this House of almost a third of this legislation.

"This is no way for legislation to be made and the government should do the honorable thing and reprogramme this debate."

Shadow housing minister John Healey said it would be 1am before plans to allow privatised planning applications would be debated.

The clause will let developers choose for a private firm, not a council, to process their schemes.

The firms will have to be individually approved by the government and councillors will still still get the final say on whether to give plans the green light.

"Ministers tabled over 50 extra pages of legislation to add to Housing Bill - already 145 pages long - cutting scope for proper scrutiny," Mr Healey tweeted.

Fiona Mactaggart, Labour MP for Slough since 1997, said the decision echoed a time she had to vote on an anti-child abuse law in the early hours.

"Really important clauses are going to be considered after midnight - for example whether there can be any priority for local people when it comes to purchasing starter homes," she said.

"There are a number of really important issues which frankly I think our constituents who are concerned about housing and planning would not expect to be decided after midnight.

"It's not grown up. It's a return to the days when I first came to this house and voted against beating children at 4am. I vowed never to have such important votes at that time of the morning again."

The Housing and Planning Bill is going through the first day of its report stage - a part of law-making that rarely makes the news.

It is not the final stage or vote on a law, but sees key decisions made on small print that can change the course of families' lives.

The six-hour debate only started at 8.50pm after it was repeatedly delayed by four urgent announcements, including from David Cameron and Theresa May.

A vote on holding the debate until 3am passed by 303 votes to 195.

Tory housing minister Brandon Lewis insisted there would be "proper and full scrutiny" of the Bill.

He told MPs: "All colleagues have the ability to exercise self restraint if they wish to and saying from a ministerial point of view I will do that to make sure backbenchers have an opportunity to speak."

Source: The Mirror

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