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PPS: YOU MUST LIVE BY MINISTERIAL RULES

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Parliamentary private secretaries are to be 'reminded' they must follow the same rules as ministers on intervening ...
Parliamentary private secretaries are to be 'reminded' they must follow the same rules as ministers on intervening in planning applications, after revelations that a former PPS tried to influence a controversial scheme.

Environment minister Alan Meale faced calls to resign this week after it emerged he had intervened in a Barnet LBC planning inquiry to press for a£14 million sports complex in north London, 140 miles from his constituency.

Mr Meale lobbied for the scheme earlier this year when he was Parliamentary aide to deputy prime minister John Prescott. He has since been promoted to a ministerial post at the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.

The scheme includes a new stadium for Barnet Football Club on green-belt land. Mr Meale is understood to have known the applicant, Greek Cypriot millionaire Tony Kleanthous, for several years.

The planning inquiry ended three months ago and an inspector's report is due to go to Mr Prescott for a decision.

Mr Meale wrote letters to top civil servants and planning minister Richard Caborn, calling on them to back the proposal.

The DETR said nothing improper had been done, but it intended to 'make clear that guidance to ministers should apply equally to Parliamentary private secretaries'.

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