Removal of Special Regimes for Tenancies of Housing Associations etc

Part of Clause 35 – in the House of Commons at 1:45 am on 9th November 1988.

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Photo of Mr Tony Banks Mr Tony Banks , Newham North West 1:45 am, 9th November 1988

I do not think that any Opposition Member would believe for a moment that the Government are democrats. They are not democratic in the way in which they operate. They abuse the rights of the House as they abuse our citizens. We understand that, but we cannot take the hypocrisy of all this. We know, as does everyone else involved in housing, that the Bill will not provide one additional unit of accommodation. It is nothing to do with the housing crisis; it is all about the Conservative party's ideology. The Conservatives hate local authorities providing housing and they will do everything they can—the Bill is part of that strategy—to eliminate the provision of housing by local authorities. We have the evidence of the Government's words and of our eyes when we see their actions.

2 am

We deplore the Bill. It is a lousy, rotten Bill, as my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) said. The people know that. It is impossible for us to stomach the Government's hypocrisy. They are altering the basis of public sector tenancies. They hope to hand large swathes of council tenants into the hands of the Hoogstratens and the nasty gangster landlords who are waiting for the Bill to get on to the statute book. We want the opportunity to expose the bankruptcy of the Government's case, and we need time to do that.

The Government are clearly in a mess. Although I found the Bill iniquitous in the extreme, I had some pleasure in being the agency Whip who was brought back to do his little bit to stall its passage towards the statute book. The Conservative Benches have sometimes been full of Members and sometimes almost empty, but no one has been prepared to answer our case. They just want to steamroller the Bill through Parliament. They want to steamroller the rights of Parliament.