Flowers from Jeremy Corbyn left for rough sleeper found dead near Parliament
A card from the Labour leader read: ‘As a country we must stop walking by. Rest in peace. Jeremy Corbyn.’
Flowers and a card signed by Jeremy Corbyn have been laid where a rough sleeper was found dead a stone’s throw from Parliament.
It is understood that some members of the Labour leader’s team were in contact with the homeless man, and would take him food.
He was found in the underpass of exit three of Westminster Underground station on Wednesday morning and pronounced dead at the scene, the Metropolitan Police said.
Flowers from Jeremy Corbyn and his staff have been laid near the tube entrance to the Houses of Parliament, where a man, believed to be homeless, died this morning pic.twitter.com/Bxqi56ze5T— Isabel Togoh (@bissieness) February 14, 2018
Flowers were found near the station entrance, with a card that read: “This should never have happened. As a country we must stop walking by. Rest in peace. Jeremy Corbyn.”
Another card “from all the staff of the leader of the Labour Party” said it was “such a tragic loss”.
Figures released in January found that more people are sleeping rough on the streets of England than at any point this decade, with numbers rocketing 73% since 2014.
Local authorities estimated there were around 4,751 rough sleepers on a single night in autumn 2017, according to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, the highest number since comparable records began in 2010.
Mr Corbyn said on Twitter: “The powerful can’t carry on walking by on the other side while people don’t have a home to call their own.
“It’s time all MPs took up this moral challenge and properly housed everyone.”
Other Labour MPs tweeted their response to the news, including shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, David Lammy, Neil Coyle, Emma Lewell-Buck and Paula Sherriff.
I've just been told about the death of a rough sleeper right by the entrance to Parliament. The powerful can't carry on walking by on the other side while people don't have a home to call their own. It's time all MPs took up this moral challenge and properly housed everyone.— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 14, 2018
The area of the station where the man was found is often used by homeless people to sleep during the night.
Ms Lewell-Buck wrote: “This totally breaks my heart, if it is who I think I and many other MPs have spoken to him and helped him out where we could.”
Mr Lammy said he wonders “every day” when he goes to Westminster if Cabinet ministers see the “increased numbers of people rough sleeping outside Parliament”.
This totally breaks my heart, if it is who I think I & many other MPs have spoken to him and helped him out where we could- best thing MPs can do is keep pressure on Govt to stop pretending they are taking proactive action on homelessness & stop Councils misusing PSPOs https://t.co/jaw8EsbPk0— Emma Lewell-Buck MP (@EmmaLewellBuck) February 14, 2018
Truly awful. A shocking indictment of this Government's record. Every day when I come into Parliament I wonder if Cabinet Ministers don't also see the hugely increased numbers of people rough sleeping outside Parliament and realise they need to act urgently. https://t.co/LDu22WNz3c— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) February 14, 2018
Westminster City Council said that at the last headcount in January 2018, just under 200 people were sleeping rough in the borough.
A spokesman said that during cold weather snaps, extra street team patrols are carried out.
On this occasion, the council’s outreach services discovered the body, and attempted CPR until police and paramedics arrived.
He added: “Anyone worried about a rough sleeper can visit www.streetlink.org.uk to alert our teams and allow us to provide routes off the street and into safety.”
A spokesman for London Ambulance Service said it was called at 7.16am to reports of a man not breathing.
Scotland Yard said the man was pronounced dead at 7.33am, and that the incident is being treated as unexplained, but not suspicious.