The rental market has been put under the political spotlight after a prospective Conservative MP for a constituency in Nottinghamshire suggested that ‘nuisance tenants’ should be re-housed outdoors in tents and made to do seasonal vegetable picking work.
Lee Anderson, who is a former miner and Labour councillor, switched to the Conservatives in March this year.
He is now contesting the marginal constituency of Ashfield between Nottingham and Mansfield which has been held since 2010 by Labour MP Gloria de Piero, who at the most recent election held it with a 444-vote majority.
She announced her decision to step down in July citing differences of opinion within the Labour party over Brexit, and is being replaced by Corbyn loyalist Natalie Fleet.
Nearly three quarters of voters in Ashfield voted for Brexit during the EU Referendum.
In the video posted on Facebook, Lee Anderson stands near houses within a local residential area and reveals that he has a radical solution to prevent the small number of local nuisance tenants who are ‘making people’s lives a complete misery’.
“People say they’ve got to live somewhere so… let’s have them living in a tent in the middle of a field, up at six in the morning to work in the fields picking potatoes or current seasonal vegetables then back in the tent, cold shower and lights out at 6pm and the same the next day,” he says.
The video clip has triggered a deluge of criticism including many who accuse the wannabe MP of suggesting ‘work camps’ for those evicted from social or private housing.
Anderson says in the interview that his views are his own and not those of his recently-adopted party.
There are four other candidates running in the Ashfield constituency. These are Rebecca Wain for the LibDems; Martin Daubney for the Brexit party; independent Jason Zadrozny and Rosemary Cerridwen Gray Woods for the Green Party.