MP reveals how he was 'smuggled in' to homeless B&B hostel - but ordered to leave
PUBLISHED: 15:37 16 June 2019 | UPDATED: 15:37 16 June 2019
Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has revealed how he was "smuggled in" to a bed and breakfast hostel where homeless people were being placed - but was later ordered to leave.
The Labour MP said he was told to leave by a member of staff after about an hour at the site when attending with one of his constituents.
The constituent had told him beforehand: "You won't be allowed to visit, we're not allowed any visitors."
Mr Martin told a House of Commons debate: "I was told to leave — I was ordered out of the premises by a member of staff after I had been there for about an hour, because I had been smuggled in by one of my constituents."
He protested being asked to leave the premises, telling the member of staff: "Well, I am the Member of Parliament."
But the member of staff replied: "That doesn't make any difference. The owners of this place will keep anybody out - councillors, Members of Parliament or whoever."
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Of his time at the accommodation, Mr Martin said: "It is a place to live, but my goodness, it is not somewhere we would want anybody that we knew to live."
He concluded from the visit that "so-called bed and breakfasts are not the answer" and added: "We need to ensure that when people are homeless, there is somewhere for them to go straight away."
Mr Martin highlighted the incident as part of a social housing debate in the House of Commons, saying it is an issue that affects the majority of the population "very badly indeed".
He said he was proud of Ipswich Borough Council's efforts to deal with the problem, citing the building of new council homes at the old Tooks bakery site and Cauldwell Hall Road as helping to deal with the problem.
Mr Martin also praised a new 45-person temporary housing unit nearly completion for how it "will be taking homeless families directly out of so-called bed and breakfasts from next month".
But he called on the government to "drop their ideological opposition to council housing".
He added: "The private sector has not built the homes we need. The experiment to bring an end to local authority housing and to put everything into the private sector, started by Margaret Thatcher in 1979, has failed.
"It is time to accept that, and it is time to do what we know works."