SIGNIFICANT SHORTS : Labour plan to ambush tories over sale of milatary married quarters

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Labour is planning an ambush to inflict a damaging defeat on the Government over the plans by Michael Portillo, the Defence Secretary, for the pounds 1.5bn sale of armed forces married quarters.

Senior Labour sources confirmed that the Opposition is planning to force a vote on the issue before the recess. They will be challenging Tory dissidents to vote with Labour to defeat the plan.

A defeat on a Labour motion opposing the sale would be embarrassing for the Government but would not halt the sale, which is expected to be confirmed in the next fortnight with the naming of a buyer, which could be a Japanese bank. However, the Government is also facing a second defeat over the scheme on an amendment by Baroness Parks, a Tory peer, to the Housing Bill in the House of Lords, which would put the deal off for a year to allow more consultation.