Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

PM faces council housing backlash

David Cameron is likely to be challenged by members of the public over his remarks that council homes should not be granted "for life".

His comments, made during a question and answer session in Birmingham on Tuesday, appear to have sparked further tensions in the coalition.

And he will probably be quizzed over his remarks about housing at the latest "PM Direct" event in the Brighton and Hove area.

Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes has warned the Prime Minister that fixed-term council tenancy agreements "in no way" represented coalition policy.

Mr Hughes said Mr Cameron's ideas for ending "council houses for life" had not been discussed within the coalition and "certainly do not represent the policy of Liberal Democrats". He said the party would be willing to talk about the suggestion but warned that MPs would "not be backward in expressing our personal and collective views".

Mr Hughes spoke out after the premier said there should be "fixed-term" tenancy deals so residents could be moved on after "five or 10 years" if their circumstances change - rather than living in a council home "forever".

But in a statement, Mr Hughes said: "Council tenancy agreements have not been discussed by the coalition, and any idea or proposal floated so far is nothing more than that - an idea or a proposal and not a policy. So the ideas put forward by David Cameron this week in no way represent the policy of the coalition and certainly do not represent the policy of Liberal Democrats. There was no mention of this issue in either election manifesto or the coalition agreement."

The Prime Minister has admitted that leading the coalition Government creates "extra stresses and strains" - not least because he and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg have to "do more to take their own parties with them".

Labour say the differences are further evidence of a split in the coalition.

Former Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said: "Proper government can't be conducted if Nick Clegg isn't speaking for the Government from the despatch box and David Cameron isn't speaking for the Government at a question and answer session. Clegg and Cameron need to stop giving different answers to different audiences for party political advantage, as has always been the Lib Dem tactic."

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph