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?

  1. Simon clearly recognises that the Localism Bill has its positives, however it is not perfect. He shares his concerns regarding what a fixed 2 year tenancy could mean to his constituents and is why he has been going back and forth to his constituency asking for our thoughts. We must also recognise the shortage in council housing and the increase of people on the waiting list. There are however people who have lifetime tenancies and are earning respectable wages where they could actually afford to either rent or buy on their earnings. So we must somehow find a balanced solution where those who are in desperate need of housing are looked after and those who can afford to rent on the private sector do so to make up space for those in desperate need of housing. Now, it is understandable that 2 years is a very short time, but Simon is working very hard to ensure that family’s with children are reconsidered in this time period and that young, single individuals are given the chance to make their way up on the ladder so that they can move forward and not remain static. I hope this helps. Best Wishes, Sean

  2. There will of course only be two-year fixed term tenancies in Southwark if Labour controlled Southwark Council decides to implement them.

  3. mike cobley says:

    quote – “the cognitive dissonance of “social democrat” Simon Hughes” – er, worth pointing out that Simon Hughes is not nor has he ever been…a social democrat. He was and remains a Liberal.

  4. As I suspected Charlie, Sean Ash and his Lie Dem ilk just up to their usual duplicitous tricks. But now the entire country knows what filthy liars they are, the mud has stuck this time. Roll on their next electoral wipeout at the GE. It’s going to be so much fun flinging the mud knowing that it will stick.

  5. Here is the entire press release quoted above – for those that wish to know the full story.

    Hughes attacks Labour for misleading Southwark residents on housing plans

    Simon Hughes has attacked Southwark Labour for lying to Southwark residents about the changes in government policy on housing whilst trying to hide their own intentions on the future of Southwark’s council homes. In the week when the House of Commons had its most recent consideration of the Localism Bill, Labour have accused Simon Hughes of failing to oppose plans to end secure tenancies for new council tenants. The Localism Bill includes no plans to do this but passes certain decisions about future tenancies to local councils – which leaves Southwark completely free to keep all secure tenancies in the future.

    Last year the Prime Minster floated the idea that future council tenancies should be flexible and not secure for life. Simon made clear his opposition to this policy. As a result of expressing his very strong views to government, Simon made sure that there would be no change from secure to flexible tenancies on a national basis and that all decisions would be left to individual local councils.

    Simon has now written to Councillor Ian Wingfield asking him to stop making false accusations about peoples’ council homes and asking him to come clean on his own party’s intentions for future housing policy in Southwark.

    Simon Hughes said:

    “All Labour’s accusations that current plans will stop council tenants looking for better jobs, force them to leave their home or forbid them from passing on a tenancy to a child, brother, sister, or carer are simply untrue”.

    “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. It is deeply irresponsible of Labour in Southwark to be pretending something different. Labour should not be playing politics with the facts about the future of people’s homes”.

    Notes to editors
    1. On the 18th of May – during proceedings on the Localism Bill in the House of Commons, Simon Hughes obtained assurances from the government that the new proposals would not change any local authority’s ability to issue secure tenancies in the future. The exchange on the floor of the house was as follows:

    Simon Hughes: Before my hon. Friend deals with that, will he put it on the record that nothing in the Bill changes the status of any single person who is a tenant in a local authority home or a housing association social home in England in respect of security of tenure? Will he also confirm that nothing in the Bill will require any local authority or any social landlord to change that policy in future—in other words, that the Bill is enabling, not prescriptive, in that respect?

    Andrew Stunell (Minister for the Department of Communities and Local Government): My right hon. Friend is right on both counts.

  6. Oh, so the Labour press release MUST be the “truth” because it is the alternative and is of course, a Labour perspective? May I ask what party you represent/support Charlie?

    From what I have said in my first post, has clearly been taken out of context. All options need to be discussed as we have to find the best solutions to counter-attack Tory policies. It is not our intention as if we had won the GE things would be far different.

    Liberal Democrats are NOT making cuts. The Conservatives are. Liberal Democrats are trying to find solutions to work the best we can against the Conservatives and their hard hitting policies. It is the façade of us being aligned with them that clearly creates the illusion that we are two parties united as one making cuts, but of course we are not.

    Having a platform in government, Labour should be supporting us as we are the only presence within government that has the opportunity to slow down these cuts. But as always, caught up in party politics and their same old arguments.

    I quote….

    “It is the right thing to do to cut allowances. Labour councillors are extremely hard working but it’s important that the pain of the Tory-Lib Dem cuts is spread across all Council spending, including councillors.” – Councillor Peter John, Leader of Southwark Council

    Now answer this……

    Have their wages gone up or down?

    There is your truth. Labour are the ones misrepresenting the truth because they are making cuts to allowances and sticking the money in their own back pockets! Karl Marx would be turning in his grave!

  7. Hi Sean. Bless your deluded Lib Dem heart. Of course the Lib Dems aren’t making any cuts. You keep telling yourself that. No Lib Dem MPs are trotting through the lobbies with Tories voting for the cuts are they? No. There, you see? If you close your eyes and wish hard enough you can make anything come true.

    PS. Wages have gone down. 100k since Labour took over. By the way. When the Lib Dems controlled the council they put allowance UP by 200k. Maybe you can wish that one away too? Southwark Lib Dems will say anything if they think they can get a vote out of it.

    Keep wishing now 🙂

  8. It truly amazes me how there are people out there that expect there not to be cuts after more than a decade of the Labour party in government and them throwing our gold reserves down the drain, spending more money and claiming more money in expenses. Lets do a comparison into the expenses scandal. So you tell me, compared to Labour or you can do the Tories, who claimed more expenses on their second homes? The Liberal Democrats or them! I think you are the one that is just wishful thinking mate. Cuts have to be made, but in the right places. How can they give themselves pay rises, even if allowances have seen such cuts when they are giving themselves bonuses for it, like they are god damn bankers? Bless your heart Sir, and bless you even more for thinking that you have any sort of a life under the Labour Party.

  9. Oh, and allowances that are accounted for by the way. No one was spending on upgrading their furniture or for second homes or giving themselves a pay rise. We can’t help it if we are the most active party from those that seek the status quo!

  10. Sometimes, one must lose the plot in order to understand the plot better than someone who is lost within the object of the plot itself!

  11. I’m sure the same was said about Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Wollstonecraft, Paine, Burke, Hegel, Bentham, JS Mill, Marx, Gramsci, Rawls and Foucault.. etc. Need I go on? Maybe I’m just a little ahead of your time so you don’t quite understand just as yet. I will not judge you or call you any names for that.

  12. Sean – you are brilliant, but not quite in the way you intend. Please, please, please never leave the Liberal Democrats. You were made for eachother.

  13. Why, thank you Charlie. Seeing as I intend for you to be sarcastic about me being brilliant, I then take it that you mean I am beautiful in a good way 🙂 May I also say that I love your name so much that it is in fact my sons name also. God bless you.

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