Sunak Left Red-Faced As Lords Boot Out Tory Housebuilding Plans

Critics said the proposed move would increase river pollution.
Rishi Sunak's authority has suffered another blow.
Rishi Sunak's authority has suffered another blow.
Future Publishing via Getty Images

A Tory plan to boost housebuilding which critics said would lead to an increase in river pollution has been defeated in the House of Lords.

In a major embarrassment for Rishi Sunak, peers voted 203 to 156 against a government amendment to the levelling up bill.

Ministers had wanted to to scrap so-called “nutrient neutrality” rules which state that new building developments cannot harm the environment.

They said that would pave the way for an extra 100,000 homes to be built.

But Labour peers joined forces with Tory rebels, Lib Dems and Greens to defeat the move.

Speaking ahead of the vote, shadow levelling up secretary and deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner said: “There are far better ways to build the new homes we desperately need than green-lighting water pollution.”

But at prime minister’s questions today, Sunak accused Labour leader Keir Starmer of seeking “a cheap political hit”.

He said: “Rather than make the right long-term decisions for the country he has taken the easy way out. It is typical of the principles-free, conviction-free type of leadership that he offers.

“Flip-flopping from being a builder to a blocker. The British people can’t trust a word he says.”


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