Mitcham and Morden Labour MP to confront Tories on housing at Conservative conference

The Labour MP for Mitcham and Morden says she will confront the Conservatives head-on at their party conference on Monday.

Siobhain McDonagh, 58, is speaking at an event organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), an independent free-market think-tank, to discuss housing policies and intergenerational fairness.

Ms McDonagh said her appearance was more than just political posturing.

“I will go anywhere to confront the Tories with the terrible housing reality for hundreds of my hard-working constituents living in overcrowded conditions at private sector rents that leave them with little to live on and some without enough to eat,” Ms McDonagh said.

“I will go anywhere to explain the reality of nightly paid temporary accommodation for 80,000 families including 123,000 children in our country in the 21st century,” she added.

Ms McDonagh, who has represented Mitcham and Morden since 1997, has long campaigned for improved housing.

Last year she drew attention to 84 families living in temporary accommodation in the Willow Lane Industrial Estate in Mitcham.

An IEA spokesperson said: “It’s not unheard of for Labour MPs to speak at Conservative conference. We’ve done other events with Siobhain on housing, it’s an issue she’s very passionate about.

“The IEA is non-partisan and unaffiliated with any political parties. We want perspectives from across the board, especially when it comes to housing, as it’s the most important political issue facing us today after Brexit.”

This is not the first time Ms McDonagh has reached out across political divides on the issue. Ms McDonagh’s proposal to the Ministry of Housing for allowing affordable housing to be built on Green Belt sites attracted both Labour and Conservative signatories in August.

Fellow speaker John Myers, of housing campaign group Yes in my Backyard, said: “We think Siobhain is doing the right thing in talking to everyone who is willing to listen about the housing crisis. Why shouldn’t she? She is trying to do everything she can for her constituents in desperate need.”
He added: “It’s very easy to sit in a comfortable home and talk about principles. When it’s an emergency you have to pick priorities. Our priority is the homeless and the others who are suffering.”

Ms McDonagh will speak alongside Conservative MP Eddie Hughes, John Myers, political advisor Sam Collins and IEA Associate Director Kate Andrews.

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