While Cressingham residents were previously fairly certain they did not have the support of their MP Chuka Umunna, after this Tuesday’s London Hustings they were left in absolutely no doubt, when he went head-to-head with Green Party leader Natalie Bennett over the estate.
A Save Cressingham campaigner asked a question about what can be done to stop councils like Lambeth abusing their power with enforced ‘estate regeneration’ to build homes that are less affordable for local residents. In response, Umunna pulled out the usual crumpled Labour lines we are now well used to hearing from his town hall colleagues.
He condemned the Greens for supporting the resident-led fight to save their homes: The flip side being that the residents’ own Labour-bot ward councillors have sacrificed them to the money-hungry jaws of the council bulldozer.
Umunna’s hypocrisy was explosive when he suggested the Greens were “playing politics with people’s homes”. Natalie Bennett simply reiterated how wrong it would be to demolish council housing and ruin lives and a community.
With the moral spotlight on him, the MP chose not to speak up for the hundreds of desperate families on Cressingham who have been suffering under Labour’s one-party state. Instead, he used the time to deflect the truth with excuses, and fire political arrows at the Greens.
Faced with residents on his patch in recent months, the shadow business secretary has switched on the charm he’s known for: Many will have felt reassured that he’d spotted the “bad maths” the council used when trying to justify regeneration. His constituents foolishly hoped a meaningful intervention would result.
On his own website, Umunna drops placatory hints at the truth behind the council’s new homes plan – that regeneration is to raise money to fund repairs:
But on this particular Guildhall stage, he nailed his party colours to the mast: Cressingham must be razed to make way for increased density housing, regardless of the consequences for the people already living there.
Listen to Tuesday’s London Hustings.