Prime Minister endorses Festus Akinbusoye as Mid-Beds candidate

Festus Akinbusoye and Rishi Sunak Image- LDRS
Festus Akinbusoye and Rishi Sunak. Image: LDRS

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has said there is a “straightforward” choice for Mid Bedfordshire’s next MP.

During a visit to Cranfield University (10 October), the PM said making sure that the area is protected from top-down imposed development is a top priority for constituents. And Festus Akinbusoye, the Conservative candidate, is “going to do that”, he said.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) asked when the top-down targets that are currently in place will be finally removed.

The PM said: “We’ve made the policy position very clear and the [Levelling-up and Regeneration] Bill is working its way through parliament.

“But the choice here is crystal clear, you’ve got Festus and the Conservative government who are unequivocal that there should be no top-down targets imposed on local areas like this. Unequivocal that the green belt should be protected.

“And then you’ve got Labour and the Liberal Democrats both of whom just have the opposite point of view.

“There’s just a clear simple dividing line, everyone is clear about what they stand for and people can make their choice,” he said.

The PM pointed out that the government is still “on track” to deliver a million homes over this parliament.

“Importantly, we’re doing that in the right places, we’re making sure that our cities are appropriately densified where that makes sense,” he said.

“But also in brownfield areas, so what we’re doing is diverting government money to brownfield sites to remediate them and unlock housing.

“There’s a huge opportunity to unlock housing in brownfield sites, and we’re doing that too,” he said.

The PM was reminded that this is a by-election and unless he suddenly adopts Labour or Lib Dem policy, a win for either party will not mean more housing imposed on the area.

“Well I wouldn’t look at it like that,” he said.

“I think when people vote in a democratic election they’re voting for the ideas, the priorities, the things that they think are important.”

Even if it is only a short period between the by-election and the general election?

“I think when people go to vote it’s an important moment, right, you should vote for the person who you think best represents your values and your priorities,” the PM said, “and the party that you think has an agenda that you believe in now.”

by John Guinn
Local Democracy Reporter

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