Boris Johnson backs Ed Miliband’s ‘Stalinist land grab’

Boris Johnson today backed plans by Ed Miliband to force developers to use land or lose it, but warned that it should not be done in a "Mugabe-esque way".

When Miliband suggested the compusory purchase of unused land banks last month, conservative figures and developers condemned it as a Soviet style land grab.

Graeme Leach, of the Institute of Directors, said Miliband's policy was "a Stalinist attack on property rights".

However, the mayor of London said today he believes it is a "throughly appropriate" plan.

"We should be able to have a use it or lose it clause," he told the London Assembly.

"Developers should be under no illusions that they [can] just sit on their land and wait for prices to go up", he said, adding that "it is a thoroughly appropriate way to [act]".

While he backed Miliband's proposal, he warned that it should not be done in a "draconian" way

"What I'm not in favour of doing is confiscating their property in an draconian, arbitrary and Mugabe-esque way," he said.

He added that: "I worry that there are people at the top of the Labour party who think that all property is theft and should be held in common."

He suggested that Miliband had been taken in by "the doctrines of Marx."

Johnson previously called for the introduction of "a ‘use it or lose it’ planning permission for developers," in his "2020 vision" plan released earlier this year.

However, he mocked the proposal as "Mugabe-style expropriations" in his Telegraph column last month after Miliband's speech.

He did not mention his own support for the proposal.