Nadhim Zahawi, a backbench Conservative MP, has been told to support the Government’s planning reforms or quit as a Number 10 policy adviser.
Sources close to David Cameron, the Prime Minister, made clear that Mr Zahawi would have to retract his criticisms or resign.
The source said: “Being a member of the policy board means supporting Government policy.”
Mr Zahawi’s position on the policy board, which he only joined last October, now looks precarious. He is among 10 backbench MPs on the policy board, in charge of developing policy for businesses and universities.
He had angered Number 10 only last month when it was forced to distance itself from plans by the MP to limit child benefit payments to two children for every family.
On Wednesday, Mr Zahawi had warned of “intense attacks” on the countryside by “rapacious developers”.
He said the “physical harm” to the countryside as a result of the planning reforms could become “the defining legacy of this Government”.
He warned that loopholes in the guidelines were allowing developers to “undermine them Government’s good intentions to deliver bottom up planning and much needed housing”.
He called on Nick Boles, the planning minister, to make changes to the National Planning Policy Framework to stop “intense attacks” on the countryside by “rapacious developers”.
Last night Mr Zahawi told The Daily Telegraph: “I made the comments as the member for Stratford upon Avon, not as a member of the policy board. I am in favour of the policy, I see it as very positive with this very tiny tweak, the NPPF can be hugely improved.”
Mr Zahawi was backed by countryside campaigners. Shaun Spiers, the chief executive of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said: “What we are seeing now is the worst of both worlds: too few houses built; too much damage done.
“Solving the country’s housing crisis will require measures that go way beyond the planning system. But a few relatively simple changes to planning policy can ensure better quality homes in the right places, without resulting in fewer homes being built.”
Number 10’s position on Mr Zahawi’s comments had hardened during the day.
Earlier the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said a Government department will examine his claims if he could present further proof. The spokesman said: “Any department, if there was evidence, would always look at it.”
Asked if Mr Zahawi should he take any evidence to the department, the spokesman added: “I am sure that would be the case.”
The spokesman added: “It is right to continue to protect the Green Belt in the way that the approach does and right for local communities to be at the heart of planning decisions.”
Mr Boles also shrugged off Mr Zahawi’s criticism. He said: “We have scrapped Labour’s top down Regional Strategies and given councils the ability to shape whether development should and shouldn’t go ahead through Local Plans.
“We have also safeguarded planning protection for the Green Belt, open countryside and other important environmental designations.
“Local councillors do have to make challenging decisions on how to provide more homes and protect the environment. “But by having an up to date Local Plan in consultation with local residents, they will be in the control of shaping development.