Words from Westminster: A Rough Sleeper On What Life Is Like On The Doorstep Of Parliament

A rough sleeper on what life is like on the doorstep of the Palace of Westminster

Well Wednesday 3rd July a young lady sleeps outside the barrier they had put up. It is 10pm, she was only there 10 minutes. Two MPs came through the barrier talking to each other, “I see this lot are still around here. Well we will have to get another restriction in place to get them out of here.”

Well to me this proves these uncaring selfish greedy lot do not deserve to be MPs, they are more worried about us being here than the knife crime. They are more worried about us being here than Brexit. They think only about themselves and everything to look nice so they can cosily stroll along and talk bollocks.

They are so far up their own arses they are on another planet, because they don’t care about anyone or anything as long as they get voted in. Tories and Lib Dems are the main upstarts who don’t care where we are or where we go as long as they cannot see us.

The death of the 45 year old male in December meant nothing to most of the MPs as they passed by us with their “sorry”s and their promises, nothing changed. Nothing was done to help in any way, shape or form but lies. What were we supposed to think they would do?

Except 2 months to the day of that death they, well, some of them, complained for no reason to the council, a few of them saying they were threatened and had been verbally had a go at by rough sleepers, in an attempt to get us moved on.

So Westminster council informed the police to move us using (a) the Vagrancy /Act and more, but even (wait for it) (b) anti-terrorism laws. Mixing old laws with new, like new MPs being mixed with dinosaurs who complain for no reason.

And I have to say one lady dinosaur who does nothing but moan at rough sleepers when she sees them, telling us you cannot sleep here, you have to move. I feel sorry for her, money and power gone to her head. And then disgruntled looks from other MPs and just a very few that smile at us, and a handful who speak nicely to us.

There will always be rough sleepers because not only have MPs but councils, and outreach teams have got everything wrong in what to do or how to do it… And anyway what would happen to the jobs of outreach teams if everyone was off the streets?

Start by getting into the 21st century and end criminalising the homeless now!

MPs and councils need to stop looking at us like beasts of burden, or like embarrassing scum they cannot bear to look at - turning their heads like they are ready to throw up whilst holding their breaths because of the stench (not all of them but most of them anyway). Out of about 30 MPs who walked past me today about 7 looked at me like nothing else. About 4 to 5 smiled and only 2 said hello. The rest, I was sad to see them be how they were (a sick bunch).

The police, they are being nice and friendly, for now anyway, or until MPs start moaning and telling the usual lies to the council who then demand action against us,

A lot of the public, including visitors to Westminster, are nice and friendly with us. It is a shame I cannot say this about the MPs and the councils.

LABOUR HOMELESSNESS CAMPAIGN AGAINST WESTMINSTER EVICTIONS

This is the grate that's just been put up to evict a longstanding community of Westminster rough sleepers, forcing them out into the elements. The situation is urgent.

For at least a year these rough sleepers, some of them involved in our campaign, have been sleeping in the tunnels out of the cold. MPs walked past them into parliament every day. They received national attention before, when one of them passed away, sparking outpourings of sympathy and promises of help.

But over the weekend they returned to the place they'd made their home one evening, and found a massive metal grate blocking off the tunnel. Every day at 7pm, when the tunnel is no longer of use to politicians in suits, it is blocked off and left empty.

No warning or notice was given, and no help was offered. Rough sleepers are forced to sleep in nearby parks or outside the station, still being regularly "moved on" of course. We've got a draft email you can send to your MP below (and please let us know if you get a reply!)

Instead of help they received official harassment, with rough sleepers being faced first with "Community Protection Notices" threatening £20,000 fines for "loitering", then the 1824 Vagrancy Act and "random" searches by police. Often woken up at 6am, they had to wander around Westminster in the day, but at least they had a warm tunnel to stay in when it wasn't being used.

We need your help. This is on the Parliamentary Estate, and is the decision of the Parliamentary authorities. They chose to do this now because MPs are on recess in their constituencies - we're asking you to contact your MP and call on them to demand #NoWestminsterEvictions.

Dear xxx, I'm one of your constituents, and I'm asking for your help with an urgent situation on the doorstep to Parliament. A community of rough sleepers who've been sleeping out of the cold in the Westminster station tunnels have all been evicted over the weekend. You likely walked past them when you went into Parliament every day. They were given no warning or notice of the eviction, but instead a massive metal grate was simply installed that now blocks off the tunnel at 7pm each day: No support was offered connected with the eviction, and no evidence of 'misbehaviour' by rough sleepers has been given. The group of rough sleepers were there well over a year (Gyula Remes, the rough sleeper whose death in December received national attention, was one of them). Now there is nowhere in central Westminster where they don't risk being moved on, and many are forced to sleep in nearby parks or outside Westminster station. This tunnel is part of the Parliamentary Estate, and clearly now was chosen as the moment to do this because MPs are on recess. As your constituent I would be grateful if you voiced your opposition to the eviction, so that this decision can be reversed and more compassionate means can be used to support these people off the streets. Please could you do a brief statement or video voicing your views on this, and could you contact the Parliamentary Estate directly. If you would like more background on the situation please contact labourhomelessnesscampaign@gmail.com. Kind regards,

To find out more about the Labour Homelessness Campaign, visit their website here

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