Steerpike Steerpike

Tories split on building new homes

Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The Tory vote might be tanking among the under-40s but don’t despair: Michael Gove is here to save the day once more. The Levelling Up Secretary did the media round on Sunday morning, talking up his plans to get young people on the housing ladder. It came after his interview in the Sunday Times in which Gove intoned gravely that:

If people think that markets are rigged and a democracy isn’t listening to them, then you get an increasing number of young people saying: “I don’t believe in democracy. I don’t believe in markets.” And you can see that in polling.

Worrying stuff. So, who exactly constitutes this dire threat to democracy? Well, er, it seems that it’s the Conservative party. For while Gove was out declaring that helping young people access new homes was Rishi Sunak’s top priority, the Tory candidate in the Kingswood by-election revealed that he is running a single-issue campaign to stop 6,000 new homes being built.

Sam Bromiley told the Sunday Telegraph that his ‘number one priority’ would be to protect the green belt against the local council’s plans to build thousands of homes on it. He added that he was ultimately concerned ‘about the future Labour government and Keir Starmer’s willingness to ignore local opposition to build on the green belt. I think we need to put a marker in the sand at this point and say enough’s enough.’

It’s perhaps worth reflecting too on Gove’s own record in office. In the past eighteen months, he has kiboshed the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, called in the M&S Marble Arch redevelopment and scaled back housing targets across England. So much for joined up government…

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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