Such is the cognitive dissonance of “social democrat” Simon Hughes that he is now pretending certain parliamentary votes did not occur. Thousands of his constituents are affected by proposals in the Localism Bill which will allow local authorities and housing associations to offer fixed tenancies for a minimum of two years, rather than secure lifetime tenancies.
With local residents up in arms over the plans, Hughes issued a press release last week which stated:
“There was no vote in Parliament last week to end secure tenancies in future in Southwark or anywhere else – if there had been I certainly would have voted against it.”
But it seems the dizzying altitude of Hughes’ office on the sixth floor of Portcullis House is playing tricks with his memory. Hughes spoke in the report stage for the bill, to which his press release refers, but couldn’t be bothered to vote on the following amendments.
- Amendment 13 – removing flexible tenancies from the bill
- Amendment 271 – guaranteeing tenants with security of tenure that this can’t be taken away if they need to move homes
As more than 500 of his colleagues voted it seems unlikely these divisions could have escaped the notice of this coalition fig leaf and “university access tsar”.
Proposals could mean tenants are subjected to an assessment of their income and family circumstances after just eighteen months in their home, providing a disincentive to to apply for higher paid jobs and forcing couples to leave their family home after their children move out.
Could the real Simon Hughes please stand up?