Westferry Printworks: The Jenrick-Desmond texts in full

Publication of a series of texts between Tory donor Richard Desmond and the housing secretary includes revelations that Desmond believes an east London council to be “Marxist”.

A visualisation of the Westferry Printworks development. Pic: Westferry Developments/PLP Architecture
A visualisation of the Westferry Printworks development. Pic: Westferry Developments/PLP Architecture

This is a full version of the texts published by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. They begin the day after Jenrick met Desmond at a Tory party fundraising dinner.

18th November 2020

Robery Jenrick (RJ): Good to spend time with you tonight Richard. See you again soon I hope. Robert Jenrick

Richard Desmond (RD): Thanks Robert I really appreciate your text Will call your office tomorrow to arrange Very best Richard

RJ: I'd like that. See you soon. Robert

20th November 2020

RD: Your efficient PA (name redacted) has arranged a meeting for 19th December at 10.30am for meet and site visit. Good news finally the inspectors reports have gone to you today, we appreciate the speed as we don't want to give Marxists loads of doe for nothing! We all want to go with the scheme and the social housing we have proposed and spent a month at the Marxist town hall debating, thanks again, all my best Richard

RJ: Richard. As Secretary of State it is important not to give any appearance of being influenced by applicants of cases that I may have a role in or to have predetermined them and so I think it is best that we don't meet until after the matter has been decided, one way of [sic] another - and I can't provide any advice to you on that, other than to say that I will receive advice from my officials after the general election assuming I remain in office and will consider it carefully in accordance with the rules and guidance. I hope that is okay and we can meet to discuss other matters soon, hopefully on the 19th. Robert

RD: Robert Absolutely understood Look forward to meeting on 19th to celebrate the big majority Best Richard

(SoS did not reply to this message)

13th December

RD: Robert, fantastic day today! So happy and relieved as the whole country is. Well done for keeping calm. Looking forward to next Thursday. Are you coming here to our offices at 10.30 am and then we'll all go down to Westferry together? Do you need transport? Please let me know as soon as. Best Richard

15th December

RJ: Thanks Richard. I'm afraid Thursday doesn't work for me now as I am likely to be at the Queens Speech in Parliament. However we will meet up soon. And I will look at the advice regarding the application this week. Best wishes Robert

RD: Thanks Robert speak beforeXmas ? Best Richard

(SoS did not reply to this message).

23rd December

RD: Morning Robert How does the advice look? We have to get the approval before January 15 otherwise payment of 45 million pounds to tower hamlets meaning we have to stop and reduce social housing Thanks Robert look forward to speaking soon Best Richard

(SoS did not reply to this message)

22 January

RJ: Richard I hope you understood that I could not speak with you or have contact whilst I was making my decision with respect to the planning application at Westferry - which was why I did not return your messages. Best wishes Robert

RD: Robert I totally understand why we could not have contact with you or your department while you were making the decision. I have now pushed the button on a further £600million investment at the development as a result of the decision, enabling the social housing and market housing to more than double together with the delivery of the magnificent new school etc etc. This will create thousands of new jobs pretty much straight away - as we are 'on it' and don't hang around!!! Now we are moving ahead would you like to visit the site in March? Best Wishes Richard

24 January

RJ: I would be happy to visit and see progress as it develops. Best wishes Robert

RD: Great have a nice weekend best Richard

NB: No further communication and no visit was arranged or took place. Mr Desmond attempted to call the Secretary of State on a number of occasions, but the Secretary of State did not take his calls.

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