A little-known group called Labour Tenants United has criticised the party’s new housing spokeswoman.
Initially the group welcomed the appointment to the role of shadow housing minister of Lucy Powell, who was moved into the brief in Sir Keir Starmer’s controversial reshuffle on Sunday evening.
However, the group’s tweet saying: “Congratulations on the new role, @LucyMPowell. We look forward to meeting with you to develop a tenants-first housing policy that works” was quickly followed by a more caustic message.
This said “On the other hand” and retweeted a social media comment saying that Powell was in fact a landlord in addition to being an MP.
The anti-Powell comment included part of the MPs’ register of interests, which states that Powell had let out a room in her apartment since June 2015, and that she owned a share of the freehold in a block of six flats in south London, in one of which she lives.
This is not the first time that this activists’ group has criticised landlords.
Last October Luke Evans, who claims to be a founder member of Labour Tenants United, wrote on a left wing website: “Labour’s backtracking on these issues is a sign that the decision-makers in the party do not understand the fundamentally opposed interests of landlords and tenants. Recognising this conflict is vital if the party wants to develop a programme to really fix the situation for private tenants. The party cannot return to appealing to the better nature of landlords.”
He continued: “It is hard to discount that the continued and disproportionate presence of landlords in positions of power within Labour might be one factor that explains why the party has been falling short.”
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