Grenfell: Berwick’s Conservative MP responds to online criticism

Anne-Marie Trevelyan at the Northumberland General Election count 2017
Anne-Marie Trevelyan at the Northumberland General Election count 2017

MP for Berwick, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, has been caught up in a social-media backlash in the wake of the Grenfell fire which relates to a housing vote last year.

Mrs Trevelyan is among a list of 72 Tory MPs who last year voted down an amendment on homes being ‘fit for human habitation’ and who were themselves landlords deriving an income from a property. In total, all 309 Conservatives who turned up voted against it.

Following the tragedy at the tower block in west London last week, the list has been circulating online.

But Mrs Trevelyan has defended her stance, pointing out that the Labour amendment to the Housing and Planning Bill, which was voted down, related to private landlords.

At the time of the 2016 vote, then-Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said that his bill already contained policies to tackle bad behaviour and that Labour’s proposals would impose ‘unnecessary regulation’ on landlords.

However, while all council homes are expected to be fit for habitation, no existing law actually allows that standard to be enforced; Labour’s proposed laws would have allowed council tenants to challenge local authorities on unsafe homes.

This week, Mrs Trevelyan said: “The aggressive trolling going on attacking me relates to a Labour amendment to the Housing Bill which myself and colleagues did not support – this is normal Parliamentary procedure for MPs of the serving Government, since opposition amendments which are supported by Government are incorporated into the legislation, but otherwise we will vote against them.

“The amendment in question, as it happens, only related to private rented accommodation, not council property such as the Grenfell tower block which caught fire with such calamitous and catastrophic loss of life.

“I am afraid that those who do not support the Conservative Government have now decided to conflate the fact that I happen to own a property which I rent out and this amendment which was rejected by Government to make some unpleasant and incorrect statements about my landlord management.

“I hope my tenants would always consider me a good and considerate landlord.

“I hope this helps clarify the false implications which detractors of the Government are trying to apply to normal, good landlords like myself.”