Starmer denies official said Labour could ‘flatten green belt’ to build homes

Sir Keir Starmer has denied a Labour Party official said a future government could “flatten the whole green belt” to achieve homebuilding plans.

Politico’s London Playbook quoted an unnamed party official on Thursday, who said: “I don’t care if we flatten the whole green belt, we just need more houses in this country.”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak posted the quote to his feed on X, formerly Twitter, with the caption: “Good to finally get Labour’s real views on Britain’s green belt.”

At a visit to a housing development in York, the Labour leader told journalists: “No, that wasn’t Labour Party officials. That wasn’t Labour Party policy.

“What we will do is we will build the one and a half million houses that we need over the next five years on projects like this, with the facilities they need, because what you need here is the schools and the GPs and the facilities that are needed for housing.

“We will get on and do the building we need to do, but we’d of course protect the countryside, as you’d expect.”

Labour has pledged to build 1.5 million new homes over the next five years, if elected.

To achieve this, the party has vowed to reform planning rules to build homes on the so-called grey belt, which it describes as poor quality land, car parks and wasteland.

The party also plans a ban on no-fault evictions, introducing legal protections for tenants when it comes to mould, and putting an end to rental bidding wars and upfront payments.