Oliver Dowden defends Suella Braverman after controversial rough sleeper comments

Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden was forced to defend his Cabinet colleague following her controversial remarks regarding homeless people.

The Cabinet minister said Britain “cannot allow our streets to be taken over by rows of tents” occupied by people who she said were mainly from abroad and “living on the streets as a lifestyle choice”.

She added that unless there was action, British cities could see an “explosion of crime, drug taking, and squalor” that she said San Francisco and Los Angeles in the United States had witnessed.

People from Extinction Rebellion and Stand Up to Racism take part in a Stop Braverman, Stop the Hate protest outside the Home Office (PA)
People from Extinction Rebellion and Stand Up to Racism take part in a Stop Braverman, Stop the Hate protest outside the Home Office (PA)

Quizzed on her comments, Mr Dowden told Sky News the UK doesn't "want a single rough sleeper on our streets".

He then defended the Government who has pledged £2billion to tackle the problem over the next three years as part of their "commitment" to stopping homelessness.

Mr Dowden insisted that the government is also trying to eliminate "push factors" such as drug and alcohol addiction.

He did conclude, however, that the power should have the power to stop tent encampments.

Following Ms Braverman's comments, a demonstration was organised outside the Home Office in Westminster.

Weyman Bennett, co-convenor of Stand Up To Racism said the Home Secretary should "put some handcuffs on herself and hand herself in to the nearest police station".

The group of peaceful protesters called for Ms Braverman to "stop the hate" as they heard speeches, sang songs and chanted outside the Home Office in central London.