Tory donor and housing secretary relationship exposed over ‘controversial’ property development

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A Tory donor has said he showed Robert Jenrick a promotional video of a development before the housing secretary controversially approved the planning application.

Media mogul Richard Desmond told the Sunday Times that Jenrick watched the video for “three or four minutes” at a Conservative Party fundraiser at the Savoy Hotel.

Jenrick would later grant permission for the development of a 1,500-flat scheme the day before a new council community levy would have cost Desmond’s company an extra £40m.

Westferry Printworks Redevelopment Jenrick
A view of the Westferry Printworks site on the Isle of Dogs, east London (Yui Mok/PA)

The Cabinet member has said he did not discuss the development at the Westferry Printworks in east London with Desmond and has told MPs he acted in “good faith” and “within the rules”.

Desmond, who used to own the Express and Star newspapers, told the Sunday Times: “What I did was I showed him the video,” adding that the minister viewed it for about “three or four minutes” at the November fundraiser.

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According to Desmond, Jenrick replied: “I’m sorry Richard. I can’t discuss it.”

Health secretary Matt Hancock backed his cabinet colleague on 21 June.

“Mr Jenrick answered questions for an hour in the House of Commons this week and I think he’s put out a statement about this which is perfectly reasonable,” Hancock told The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC.

Richard Desmond
Richard Desmond was at a dinner with Mr Jenrick (PA)

“He was put on a table with Mr Desmond, he didn’t know that was where he was sitting before, so I think his explanation is entirely reasonable.”

Cabinet secretary Mark Sedwill has been tasked with carrying out a review into the handling of the development.

The redevelopment, said to be worth £1bn, was approved in January by Jenrick against the recommendation of a planning inspector.

The decision was reversed after legal action by Tower Hamlets Council and Jenrick admitted what he did was “unlawful by reason of apparent bias”.

Two weeks after the minister stepped in to approve the scheme, Electoral Commission records show that Desmond personally gave £12,000 to the Conservatives.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Tory donor and housing secretary relationship exposed
      over ‘controversial’ property development.
      I will be emailing this to Boris + over party members in H.O. Commons
      Question -1
      For Boris —- Me as a voter wish to know your response to this post SIR.
      Two weeks after the minister stepped in to approve the scheme, Electoral Commission records show that Desmond personally gave £12,000 to the Conservatives.With this possibly’ Doggy ‘dealings with this cash amount
      £12,000 could the money have been used for Tory Dec 2019 G.E. or was
      it just a personal payment for your H/Minister Robert Jenrick yes or no?

      Question -2
      Now it has come to light Boris Hancock H/Minister may have or possibly have known upfront about this mess unfolding and could have backed this Doggy deal, So I ask you Boris did Mr. Hancock your Health/Minister did he get any funding cash from Richard Desmond like Mr. Jenrick So I ask you Boris did both of your Minister in this article get cash out of Mr. Desmond yes or no?? Boris.

      Question -3
      Boris could this way foam of diseases or ‘doggy dealing’ flood down to local area Tory Cllr in all areas of the U.K. to sell off our Local residents’ assets just to collect cash for Tory party at the expense of local area resident yes or no?

      Will our local area Green belt be safe from rich privet people that will just?
      land bank the areas sold to them by your Tory Cllr just to fund Tory party
      So, the rich can just build on the land at a ‘later’ date Boris?

      Your two Minister named here in this article do not show any foam of trust we voter need to see in London or parliament so will this type of Doggy dealing
      Be transmitted to your local area run by Tory Cllr to sell of our land area so the proceeds of the sales go back to London No,10—No,11 not spent in our local areas
      That need cash now to keep fully going without putting up our Council taxes bills.

      I have placed a F.O.I. Act request from my area Pendle/B/Council/Colne area as to the full assets of land + property we resident have to sell off in this area the full amount of price all are valued at in present time frame still awaiting a response from your Tory Cllr of Pendle/B/Council as Colne Cllr have already supplied this information to me But P.B.C. have not supplied any Information has of yet WHY?
      So, I ask ‘what are they’ hiding from us resident + voter of this areas Boris

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