Former Prime Minister Theresa May paid tribute to Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely, as he led a cross-party debate on the controversial planning system changes, which could see big increases in building in rural areas.

Mr Seely said today (Thursday) the Isle of Wight could just as easily deliver on its proposed housing targets as a new moon landing, and argues ‘housing demand in my patch is driven by the migration of retirees’.

Congratulating Mr Seely on securing the debate, Mrs May called the proposals “ill conceived” and Labour’s Mike Amesbury - Shadow Minister for Housing and Planning - said “There was a lot of agreement across the Chamber”.

Bob Seely said the new housing algorithm is not introduced until a debate and “meaningful” vote have taken place in the Commons and accused the Government of “concreting out” rather than levelling up, if they push ahead with the reforms.

Read more: Isle of Wight MP to host housing debate in Parliament

The Government has said the plans are still part of a consultation.

During the earlier debate, Theresa May said: “I think that one of the strongest arguments, if not the strongest argument against this new housing that it simply does not deliver a single extra home.

“What this algorithm does is build up planning permissions, it doesn’t build houses.”

Cnservative Bob Seely told MPs: “In our manifesto we promised to level up and connect the country so that everyone could get a fair share of future prosperity, and if levelling up means anything it surely implies an integrated plan for infrastructure, for jobs, for housing, to revive overlooked northern and Midland towns and stop the endless drift of jobs and opportunities to the south, the shires and suburbs.

“I support levelling up 100 per cent but, broadly speaking, the danger in these new targets in the way they’ve been shaped is that the biggest housing increases will be to rural shires and suburbs, and the biggest falls are in the urban north and Midlands.

“The worst of all worlds would be to hollow out our cities, to urbanise our suburbs and suburbanise the countryside and yet I fear that is what we may accidentally be achieving."