18 minutes ago
About sharing

Angela Rayner says she knows the Conservatives are “desperate to talk about my living arrangements”.

By Kate Whannel
Political reporter

Deputy Labour leader Angela Rayner has accused the government of having “caved into vested interests” over its pledge to ban no-fault evictions in England.

Ms Rayner asked deputy PM Oliver Dowden when the ban would be implemented, but also faced jibes over her own living arrangements in the Commons.

Mr Dowden said he was “confident” the government would deliver.

But the housing secretary has been unable to say if the evictions will be banned by the next general election.

On Tuesday, Michael Gove said he “hopes” it will become law but that it was up to the House of Lords “to decide the rate of progress that we can make”.

The House of Lords will begin scrutinising the government’s Renters (Reform) Bill – which implements changes to evictions – once MPs have approved it. The remaining Commons stages will be debated by MPs shortly.

In 2019, the Conservatives promised to end landlords’ ability to evict tenants without needing a reason.

Under its bill, landlords would be able to evict tenants in England only under certain circumstances, including when they wished to sell the property or when they or a close family member wanted to move in.

After Conservative MPs raised concerns that some of the protections in the legislation could be too burdensome for landlords, the government made changes – including making tenants commit to a minimum six-month rental period.

It also said a ban on no-fault evictions for existing tenancies would be delayed until an assessment by the justice secretary on the readiness of the court system to deal with repossession claims is published.

The subject was debated at Prime Minister’s Questions by Ms Rayner and Mr Dowden, who were standing in for their respective party leaders, Keir Starmer and Rishi Sunak.

Mr Sunak was unable to take questions from MPs because he is in Berlin for a meeting with the German chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Ms Rayner began her questions by acknowledging that Mr Dowden would try to attack her over her past living arrangements.

She has denied wrongdoing following questions over whether she owed tax on a house she sold in 2015, and registered to vote at the correct address.

Earlier this month Greater Manchester Police announced it was launching an investigation into her, following a request from Conservative deputy chair James Daly.

Posing her first question at PMQs, Ms Rayner said: “I know the party opposite is desperate to talk about my living arrangements but the public want to know what this government is going to do about theirs.”

She said nearly a million families were “at risk of homelessness due to his party’s failure to ban this cruel practice” adding: “Instead of obsessing over my house, when will he get a grip and show the same obsession with ending no fault evictions.”

In reply, Mr Dowden noted that this was his fifth time facing Ms Rayner at Prime Minister’s Questions in the past year and joked that “anymore of these and she’ll be claiming it as her principal residence”.

On the question of no-fault evictions, he said he was “confident that in line with our manifesto we will deliver on that commitment”.

Ms Rayner accused him of having “caved into vested interests on his backbenches and delayed justice” for those impacted by no-fault evictions.

She also attacked the government for its efforts to ban leaseholds, which she noted would only apply to houses and not flats – and therefore not help the majority of leaseholders.

Mr Dowden said Labour had “totally failed” to address the issue during its time in government and defended the Conservative Party’s record on housing.

He added that affordable housing was only possible with a strong economy and that her proposed changes to employment rights would “open the door to French-style wild cat strikes”.

12 April
14 hours ago
25 March