thumbnail

Sunday Show Round-Up: Jeremy Corbyn Unveils New Homelessness Policy

Here’s all you need to know from another Sunday in politics:

Rough sleeping and homelessness

Jeremy Corbyn unveiled a new Labour policy on tackling homelessness and rough sleeping, after figures released this week show the number of people sleeping on the streets is the highest since records began.

The party says it would immediately purchase 8,000 homes if it came to power, and strike a deal with housing associations to make them available to people with a history of sleeping on the streets.

It would also give local authorities power to take over homes being deliberately kept empty by owners.

Shadow housing minister John Healey said: “The rising number of people sleeping on the streets and on park benches shames us all. There can be no excuses – we can end it and we must.

“Homelessness shames us all but should shame Conservative ministers most. It is direct consequence of decisions made by the Tories on housing, and on funding for charities and councils.”

New Cabinet Office minister David Lidington insisted the government is taking the issue seriously, and putting more investment into prevention programmes.

Brexit

Everyone’s favourite talking point is never far away, and Lidington was very keen to point out that Philip Hammond is fully behind Theresa May’s approach after some, erm, hiccups this week.

“He is fully onboard,” he said.

“We are having a future trade agreement that we hope will be as friction-less and as free trade as we possibly can with our neighbours.”

The former Europe minister added that he has been “delighted by the way in which our economy is more resilient than I thought it was going to be” post-Leave vote.

Corbyn reiterated Labour is still saying ‘no way’ to a second referendum, despite the fact loads of party members desperately want one. 

“We’re not asking for one,” he said – but made it clear the party still wants to be part of A Customs Union, if not The Customs Union.

The Labour leader also rejected the idea of a Norway-style model for the UK, making it clear he wants Britain to be able to play a key role in negotiating the terms of any future trade deals.

“Norway accepts all the rules of the single market and does not have any ability to influence them whatsoever,” he said.

On both Peston and Sunday with Paterson, House of Lords leader Baroness Natalie Evans said she was confident the EU Withdrawal Bill would pass through the upper house unscathed next week, despite assertions from fellow peer Lord Tim Bell that it “needs improvement”.

“I think there’s every chance it will return to the Commons in one piece,” she said.

“The House of Lords is taking a very constructive role.

“That does not mean we won’t be having detailed debates or that there won’t be challenges…but we will get the bill through, I’m confident of that.”

Evans said she believed Jacob Rees-Mogg’s fears Britain will get BRINO (Brexit in name only – a phrase I strongly feel should be banned) were unfounded. 

The arch-Brexiteer was quick to stick the boot into Philip Hammond, telling Peston: “I’m being as loyal as I can possibly be.”

He added that he had “a view” on whether the chancellor should be sacked, but very modestly said it was not his role as a “junior backbencher” to give it in public.

Fellow ITV guest Nadine Dorries was less coy, making clear she feels Hammond “needs to go”.

Probably not one for Phil to watch on catch-up.

LGBT issues

Things got a bit awkward for David Lidington when Andrew Marr asked him if he believed trans women are women, and pressed him when he didn’t give a straight answer first time around.

“I think that somebody who is transgender or somebody who has not yet gone through transgender reassignment and feels that they were born into the wrong body, to use the phrase deserves respect,” Lidington said.

“We should respect everybody, we should respect people for who they are however they identify.”

He added: “I think that that’s a matter for her… I think she should be treated as a woman.

“To be honest, I don’t perhaps spend time thinking about this. I try to deal with the person in front of me.”

May’s de facto deputy also admitted his views on LGBT+ issues had changed.

On civil partnerships – a bill he voted against in 2004 – he said: “My own view has changed on that, looking at how gay friends of mine were really affected for the better.”

You can read the full story here.

Jeremy Corbyn said the Labour Party’s position on the matter was clear.

“Where you have self-identified as a woman, then you are a woman,” he said.

“These people have been through a big decision, a big process, a big trauma…let’s look at the human beings in front of you.”

Prisons

Shadow justice secretary Richard Burgon told Sky’s Niall Paterson the UK’s prisons are in crisis.

“One of the big problems is under-staffing,” he said. 

“It’s hard for prison staff to keep order.The conditions have got so bad for staff that experienced prison officers are leaving in droves.”

Iran

Jeremy Corbyn laid into Andrew Marr when he was asked about his views on the Iranian regime, telling the presenter he “spends too much time reading the Daily Mail”.

Corbyn insisted he is tough on human rights abuses across the globe.  Labour has certainly shown its feelings about Saudi Arabia, banning an event by the country’s ambassadors from Labour Party Conference last year – but no plans to give Iran the same treatment have been put forward.

Housing row

Labour’s Jon Trickett told the BBC’s Sunday Politics that reports of a bitter battle between London Labour councillors over a controversial housing scheme are exaggerated.

The party’s ruling National Executive Committee (NEC) has voted to ask Haringey Council to halt its public-private housing plan, which would see public land and commercial property transferred to a 50-50 partnership between the Labour-run council and firm Lendlease.

It is one of the key sticking points between Corbyn-backing Momentum members and the more ‘moderate’ council leadership, and is set to rumble on for a while yet.  Watch this space.

Commons People

Not enough politics for one day?  Listen to this week’s SPECIAL Commons People podcast with comedian Matt Forde.

Written by Little in January 28, 2018
Share :