Senior Tories left baffled after party seemingly attacks its own housing policy

Senior Tories have been left utterly confused after it emerged that the Conservative party is attacking the Lib Dems for a policy they also advocate.

This morning it emerged the party is pushing attack ads in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-elections as all three main parties battle to replace Boris Johnson.

The Facebook ad, unearthed by the Guido Fawkes website features a news article with the headline: “Lib Dems pledge to build 300,000 new homes each year in bid to tackle housing ‘crisis’”.

It is captioned: “PROTECT OUR GREEN BELT – Add your name today”.

Just over a fortnight ago, however, Rishi Sunak’s own housing minister Rachel Maclean told the House of Commons: “The Government are committed to building 300,000 houses across the country. We are building them in the right places, with community support.”

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Reacting to the Express’ revelation of hypocrisy, senior Tory MP Simon Clarke said: “Our policy – rightly – is to build 300,000 homes a year. I literally do not understand this.”

His message was also endorsed by prominent Tory Lord David Frost, while right-leaning economist Andrew Lilico called the policy confusion “bizarre”.

Fellow Tory Lord, and Theresa May’s former Chief of Staff, Gavin Barwell also reacted with frustration, posting a gif of a man banging his head on a table.

Rishi Sunak was called out on the attack ad at a Q&A in Dartford this afternoon.

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GB News journalist Tom Harwood asked: “The Conservative party is putting out literature in the Uxbridge and South Ruislip by-election attacking the Liberal Democrats for a target of 300,000 homes a year. Is that no longer the Government’s target?”

The Prime Minister ignored the question.

The Lib Dems have often come under attack for pledging grand housing targets nationally but campaigning to oppose new homes in local campaigns.

In Mid Bedfordshire they sent out a questionnaire asking residents to tell them about developments they could oppose in that forthcoming by-election to replace Nadine Dorries.

The survey asked constituents: “Are there nearby areas of green spaces you are concerned about losing through development?”

At the time Rachel Maclean, the housing minister who has now been undermined by the Tories’ Uxbridge attack ad, said this survey from the Lib Dems was from the “nimby playbook”.

Responding to the attack ad, Labour MP Jess Phillips asked: “Do you think they might be dishonest? Just a thought.”

A Lib Dem spokesperson told the Express: “It is frankly bizarre to see the local Conservative Party in Uxbridge attacking their own national policy.

“These are more desperate tactics from a party that is trying to distract from their own terrible record on the NHS and the cost of living. Local Liberal Democrat councils are proud that they build affordable homes for their residents, which the Conservatives have failed to do for years.”

The Tories were contacted for comment.

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