John McDonnell says he would offer Number 11 flat to homeless family if he becomes Chancellor

Andy Gregory
Wednesday 25 September 2019 10:45
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(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Days after Jeremy Corbyn said he was daunted at the prospect of becoming prime minister, his shadow chancellor John McDonnell actively told a crowd he had no desire to move into Number 11.

This had nothing to do with the attached job role – he just really doesn’t want to live there.

Speaking at the Labour party conference in Brighton, McDonnell explained that after 45 years living in his Hayes and Harlington constituency, he felt too “rooted in the community” to move elsewhere.

While he said he intended to use part of the Whitehall building as an office, he added:

If there’s a vacant flat, we might house a homeless family. Let’s solve part of the housing crisis.

Some suggested he could go further.

While the Labour Party has pledged to end homelessness within one term in office, some pointed out flaws in this particular plan

While others felt it was a meaningless stunt

There is a precedent.

In 2015, Finland's prime minister pledged he would invite a refugee family to live in his second home. But, in 2016, he reneged on his promise, citing security concerns due to "heavy publicity".

Closer to home, Labour politicians Yvette Cooper, Andy Burnham and Jeremy Corbyn all said they too would offer their home to a refugee family.

Four years later, this is yet to happen.

More: Tory-run council tells a young person with mental health issues that they should be able to cope living homeless

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