Blog: I voted against my party because I believe in localism, says Nick de Bois MP
19:30 29 April 2013
Conservative MP for Enfield North, Nick de Bois, writes for London24 about voting against the government - and siding with his constituency’s Labour-led council - over a recent planning Bill.
"As a local Member of Parliament I am conscious that I must always rise above party politics and do what I think is best for my constituents and the country as a whole."
I’m an incredibly strong supporter of localism – which is about granting people more power over what happens in their communities. This support is part of the reason why I recently took the difficult decision to vote against my own party and the government in the House of Commons.
The government had sought to introduce an increase in “permitted development rights” as part of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill which would have doubled what people are allowed to build on their own properties without the need for any planning permission.
However, I had been contacted by many residents in my constituency and the Labour-led Council about their concerns that such changes could lead to numerous unsightly buildings being built; and ultimately the relations between neighbours could suffer because of potential developments.
In the House of Commons last week, an amendment was tabled by one of my Conservative colleagues to allow local councils to opt-out of the reforms to “permitted development rights”. As a strong supporter of localism, and therefore believing that Government should not seek to dictate how local communities govern themselves, I backed this amendment along with a number of my colleagues in Parliament.
While even though the government defeated this amendment, the majority with which it won was so reduced that the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles publically pledged that it would re-think these plans.
While I never enjoy voting against my own party, as a local Member of Parliament I am conscious that I must always rise above party politics and do what I think is best for my constituents and the country as a whole. In backing this alternative amendment I joined forces not only with my Labour-led Local Council but many people throughout the country who were concerned by these plans.