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Tory Gummer sets sights on ARB in Parliament

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Veteran Tory big-hitter John Gummer has this week taken the war on the ARB to the House of Commons.

The former environment secretary has placed five written questions in the Commons aimed at forcing John Prescott to consider the board's current position.

These will prove yet another embarrassment for the ARB after a member of one of its Professional Conduct Committees was forced to stand down earlier this week.

Gummer's five questions are:

What are the Minister's plans to reform architectural registration?

What discussions has he had with the ARB to resolve the dispute in the profession?

What opportunities appear to have been afforded to architects penalised by the ARB?

When will he next consider nominations to the board of the ARB?

Will he consider members of the RIBA to be regulated by their own institution?

The news was welcomed by the new RIBA president Jack Pringle, who claimed that the move reflected a current political trend.

'John Gummer has been a long-term advocate of lighter-touch regulation and is clearly interested in the ARB,' he said.

'What he has done is highlight the fact that the ARB has not recognised the way that regulation is going. It is moving on.

'We are not just looking at lighter-touch regulation - what the government is talking about is minimal regulation and the ARB is completely out of touch with this.

'It is pleasing to see that someone from outside the profession recognises these problems,' Pringle added.

by Ed Dorrell

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