Leaseholders fight for justice as rally attracts hundreds

Placard wielding leaseholders gathered outside parliament to protest about the building safety scandal, supported by speakers from across the political spectrum.

In the shadow of Big Ben, MPs joined the protesters to make it clear to the new Housing Secretary, Michael Gove that sorting out the building safety crisis should be at the top of his to do list.

Sir Peter Bottomley MP, the Father of the House and Liberal Democrat MP for St Albans, Daisy Cooper both addressed the crowds and have been vocal supporters of the End our Cladding Scandal campaign.

Former Conservative Party leader, Sir Iain Duncan Smith also joined protesters. He congratulated protesters on their determination. He said:  “There is a new Secretary of State and he may think he is going to a quiet backwater, but we say Michael Gove, we want justice.”  

Justin Madders is the Labour MP for Ellesmere Port. He said the cladding crisis was an “industrial sized scam,” adding: “This is one of the biggest, systematic rip-offs this country has ever seen.”

There was a warm welcome for Stephen McPartland, the Conservative MP who led the amendments supporting the cause of leaseholders during the Fire Safety Bill, and is doing the same again with the Building Safety Bill.

One of the amendments seeks zero rating for VAT on the cost of remediating fire safety defects and the cost of waking watches. A second amendment focuses on creating an insurance indemnity scheme, and a third seeks to ensure that the government steps in and helps leaseholders using provisions in the 1985 Housing Act.

The rally started with a respectful silence for those who died in Grenfell, and later Karim Mussilhy from Grenfell United addressed the crowds, speaking about their continued fight for justice. He urged protesters: “Keep banging on their doors, remember what we stand for. Enough is enough.”

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, joined the crowd to show his solidarity. He said:

“Rather than passing the buck and blaming those who built the homes or those who own the homes, the government should now pay to make all these homes safe. They can later have the argument with those who constructed them to get back the money.”

Many other MPs and supporters contributed via video, showing their support for the End our Cladding Scandal campaign, which continues.  

The Building Safety Bill is currently at Committee stage, with the next phase of line-by-line scrutiny scheduled for 21 and 23 September.