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AJ 31.7.03 - Following an interview with the new planning minister Keith Hill, it emerges that he is seemingly more sympathetic to the case for keeping the clause than his predecessor. Hill highlights his interest in country houses and his long-term membership of the National Trust.

AJ 13.11.03 - Former Labour arts minister Alan Howarth decides to throw his weight behind the AJ's campaign and agrees to sign up to the Early Day Motion. He calls on the government to rethink its policy and retain the exception.

AJ 4.12.03 - Further gravitas is added to the case for retention when former cabinet minister and political heavyweight Chris Smith signs up to the Early Day Motion. The former culture secretary was the man who brought CABE into existence.

AJ 4.3.04 - The AJ reveals a secret document distributed to planning inspectors in 2001, ordering them to take account of the proposed abolition of the country house exception when judging appeals.

AJ 1.7.04 - Alan Howarth manages to secure a House of Commons debate on the government's PPG 7 policy. Once again Keith Hill hints that he has time for the AJ's arguments and promises to consider them further.

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