1. Governance
April 21, 2015

Guess which party's housing spokesperson said this

By Jonn Elledge

So, here’s a quote from the housing spokesperson for one of Britain’s biggest political parties. See if you can guess which.

London benefits vastly from being a cosmopolitan city, and that is largely due to the fact we have immigration…. that enriches and makes London a stronger more diverse more lively city.

Any guesses? It’s pretty open, right? I mean, national politicians from all parties sometimes go for the lowest common denominator on immigration, don’t they? Could be any of them.

Here’s another clue:

What more concerns me is the fact that there’s, unfortunately, in some quarters of the press, a stigma attached to social housing, and I think that’s very wrong…. I think the very measure of the strength of a society is the way they support those in need.

Come on, you must have got it by now. Answer’s obvious, isn’t it?

It’s UKIP.

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No, really.

The speaker is UKIP housing spokesman Andrew Charalambous, and the quotes come from an interview he gave to Matt Hutchinson, the director of SpareRoom.co.uk. (It’s one of a series of interviews the flatshare site did with the major political parties’ housing spokespeople.)

Charalambous is a landlord, property investor and former Conservative, who switched parties in part because the Tories weren’t tough enough on immigration. And yet, here he is, sticking up for it like nobody’s business. 

His views are not all so surprising. Building more homes, he says, is all about bringing brownfield land back into use. The regulatory burden on landlords should be reduced. And home ownership rates are almost certainly going to fall: “With the growth in population, rental is going to have to become more part of the housing culture, as it is on the continent.”

Nonetheless, it remains the case that a UKIP spokesman has

a) spoken up for the benefits of immigration, and

b) warned of the damage that demonising poorer people could do to the social contract.

UKIP. A party whose views on immigration are… well, yes, exactly.

You can see the full video interview here:

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