Alan Meale has confirmed that his long-standing involvement in this matter is due to his interest in football issue...
Alan Meale has confirmed that his long-standing involvement in this matter is due to his interest in football issues. The case was originally raised with him before the general election and before he became a parliamentary private secretary by his constituent, the chairman of Mansfield Football Club.
Mr Meale has since sent various representations to the inspector and to the department altough he has not done so since he became a minister in July.
This particular application has been subject to a public inquiry held by a government inspector. The DETR received many representations about it. All representations received by the department were part of the open decision-making process at the public inquiry.
In due course the inspector will report, and a decision on the matter will be taken by ministers.
While nothing improper has occurred, the DETR, in view of its responsibility for planning, intends to make clear for the avoidance or doubt that guidance to ministers on such matters should apply equally to parliamentary private secretaries in the department.