HOUSING Secretary Robert Jenrick faced new calls to resign after admitting he helped a major Tory donor save up to £50million in tax.
Robert Jenrick insisted he acted in “good faith” when approving a £1billion planning application for billionaire Richmond Desmond to build 1,500 luxury flats in East London.
He overruled the local authority and personally approved the Westferry development the day before Mr Desmond would have been hit with a new tax costing him between £30-£50 million.
The decision also went against the recommendation of a planning inspector.
Two weeks after the minister stepped in to approve the scheme Mr Desmond donated £12,000 to the Tory party and it emerged that Mr Jenrick had sat next to the billionaire at a party fundraiser event.
Opposition MPs accused him of “cash for favours” and demanded he resign.
But grilled by MPs in the Commons, Mr Jenrick insisted he had not broken any rules and claimed he had sat next to Mr Desmond “inadvertently”.
He said he had handed over relevant documents to the Cabinet Secretary to investigate.
Mr Jenrick said: “I took that decision in good faith with an open mind. And I’m confident, confident that all the rules were followed in doing so.
“It isn’t unusual for a secretary of state to come to a different conclusion to a local authority. It isn’t unusual for a secretary of state to come to a different conclusion than a planning inspector, no disrespect to the great people who work there.
“And my predecessors did so on a number of occasions.”
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