Steve pledges to help end rough sleeping

Steve Pound pledged to help end rough sleeping at a St Mungo’s event in Parliament on Wednesday, 29 November hosted by Mary Robinson MP.

More than 80 guests, including St Mungo’s clients, parliamentarians and charity representatives, met in the House of Commons to discuss the government’s commitment to end rough sleeping, with Communities Secretary Sajid Javid MP and Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey MP attending.

Steve was one of more than 50 parliamentarians from across political parties who attended the event. Rough sleeping has increased by 134% over the last five years across England. Recent figures revealed that 8,108 people were seen rough sleeping in London in 2016-17.

Each MP was also given a special advent calendar with doors opening to reveal steps that St Mungo’s clients have taken on their journey out of rough sleeping.

Steve Pound pledges to end rough sleeping at a Parliamentary reception held by homelessness charity St Mungo’s on Wednesday 29 November.

This calendar was designed using information from real stories shared by some of the 2,700 clients for whom St Mungo’s provides housing and support each night.

Howard Sinclair, Chief Executive of St Mungo’s, said: “Rough sleeping is harmful and dangerous and ruins lives.

We are pleased that the Secretary of State has stressed the government’s resolve to end rough sleeping, and that so many have personally pledged to help end rough sleeping.

Tackling homelessness is one of the major issues society faces over the coming years and we welcome the announcement of a new homelessness taskforce, announced in the Budget, and more piloting of innovative approaches such as Housing First.

If ministers are serious about meeting this government commitment by 2027, there is a lot of work to do. Homeless hostels and other supported housing will be key to achieving this commitment, and ensuring people are not left out in the cold this winter, or in the years ahead.

Our thanks to MP Mary Robinson and other guests who joined us to explore how we can make a society where no-one is sleeping rough on the streets a reality by 2027.”

About St Mungo’s

Our vision is that everyone has a place to call home and can fulfil their hopes and ambitions. St Mungo’s provides a bed and support to 2,700 people a night who are either homeless or at risk. We work to end homelessness and rebuild lives. www.mungos.org

Tribune, November 2017

“Return to your constituencies and prepare for government” was David Steel’s rallying cry – or squeak – in 1981 and is often cited as the prime example of hubris.

There are those gathered in huddles here at Westminster, as chunks of masonry fall off the building and Ministers drop out of the cabinet with the same dull and damaging thud, who repeat Sir David’s mantra and cast covetous eyes on that slew of Tory marginal that look set to fall as ripe fruit into our welcoming arms.

By nature I am the most self-deludingly optimistic of men and cheerfulness keeps breaking out despite my knowledge of the awful realities and miseries of life but I fear I must disabuse my good friends and comrades.

There isn’t going to be a snap election.

Politically it is more than a safe bet to wager that Theresa May will be gone before the Christmas decorations come down and, yes, the only person who would command a majority of supporters in the current blue rabble, David Davis, is otherwise engaged or having a lie in.

It is entirely possibly that a clean skin from the 2010 or 2015 intake could assume the tarnished crown and drape themselves in the moth-eaten robes of state but the real rising stars like Victoria Atkins, Tom Tugendhat, James Cleverly and Nusrat Ghani may be Papabile but surely it is too soon for them.

Graham Brady could be a Stanley Baldwin figure and Rory Stewart has some of Disraeli’s Tory iconoclasm about him but I don’t see either of them in the post just yet.

No – the real reason why there will not be an election before 2022 is constitutional – not political.

The Fixed Term Parliament Act 2011 allows only two circumstances in which an early election can be held. In the current Parliament this means polling day is the 5th.May 2022.

An early election can only be called if, either, such a motion is approved by two thirds of the whole House or without a division or if a motion of no confidence is passed and no alternative government is confirmed by the Commons within fourteen days.

In the first case there would have to be 434 Members voting for an Early Election.

Of course we would vote like a shot but do you think for a moment that the Tories, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru and – especially – the Scottish Nationalists would take that suicidal leap into

the dark? We must not forget the Democratic Unionist Party as all modern politics has to be seen through an orange prism.

Conventional wisdom has it that with the obvious exception of North Down there are no gains or losses to be made between Sinn Fein on the West of the Bann and the DUP to the East. That might mean voting for an early election but with no Stormont Assembly or Executive would that really be tenable?

So where would the 434 votes come from?

I rest my case.

The other circumstance – a “no confidence” vote is almost as unlikely.

The agreement signed by Gavin Williamson and Jeffrey Donaldson commits the DUP to voting with the Tories under precisely these circumstances.

This government is more secure than we were in the 1974-79 period and although Jim Callaghan’s government fell on a confidence vote we survived for nearly a full term with no overall majority.

Some stout constitutional traditionalists in Greenford have queried the legitimacy of a Conservative government under new management without the bestowed legitimacy of a general election.

Eden, Macmillan, Douglas Home, Callaghan and even Gordon Brown all rose to the purple without the electorate passing them the laurel crown so I doubt that we can now make a case for Theresa’s handing of the poisoned chalice to some poor sod as being anything less than a legitimate hospital pass.

Interestingly there could be a motion or motions of censure but the Act is very specific in the wording of the “no confidence” motion and – after two weeks – the motion ”that this House has confidence in Her Majesty’s Government”.

As the Tories stumble from catastrophe to crisis there is an honest humane emotion that say that they should be simply put out of their misery – for their sake and the sake of the nation.

There are also some within the People’s Party who see the opportunity to keep inflicting defeats – such as the current issue of the missing 58 Impact Assessments and the Local Housing Allowance semi-victory – while honing the skills of what is still a Shadow Cabinet largely untested in full government.

We should be streets ahead of the Austerity Alliance in the polls and part of the reason why we are not is a feeling that our potential Cabinet Ministers are not yet as well-known as they deserve to be. We also need to start landing some serious policy blows and not just standing at the side of the motorway chuckling as the cavalcade of clown cars crash into each other.

May 2022 may seem a long way away and there are dreadful cruelties – Universal Credit in particular – that we must defeat but constitutionally we must wait till then and politically I dare to suggest that it makes sense as well.