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Ex-minister close to forcing Commons debate

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Alan Howarth is on the verge of forcing planning minister Keith Hill to defend the abolition of the PPG 7 Country House Clause in a House of Commons debate.

The former Labour architecture minister believes he is a matter of weeks away from securing an adjournment debate - in either the Commons chamber itself or the adjacent Westminster Hall - on the government's plans.

Howarth said he expects the debate to take place 'hopefully before the summer recess in the next three-to-four weeks'.

The MP said that he was keen to get the opportunity to put the arguments in favour of retaining the clause to his parliamentary colleagues.

Howarth said he would open the debate by arguing that the government's policy was misguided.

He was also expected to point toward the widespread support for his Early Day Motion, which has so far attracted 47 supporters ranging from Conservative Teddy Taylor on the right to Labour's Tam Dalyell on the left.

Howarth is also expected to point out that a competing EDM proposed by Andrew Bennett that congratulates the government on its proposed abolition has attracted the backing of just six MPs.

For a draft letter backing the AJ's Save the Clause campaign to send to your MP, visit www. ajplus. co. uk.

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