House of Commons chaplain accused of evicting rough sleepers by Westminster

Fri 18 Oct 2019
By Heather Preston

A group of homeless people have accused the Speaker's chaplain Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin of driving them from their spot, following a complaint she registered about a tunnel's "ongoing stench".

Reverend Rose Hudson-Wilkin, whose job it is to support the Speaker to the House of Commons and conduct daily prayers, reportedly wrote an email of complaint to parliamentary security officials in February about the "ongoing stench" in the tunnel leading to Westminster tube where around 20 homeless people had been sleeping.

The internal email, seen by The New Statesman, detailed her security and health and safety concerns for those sleeping in and passing through the public pathway, which it's suspected the rough sleepers have been using as a urinal, suggesting the stacked up bedding "could be used by some unscrupulous person as a cover up for an explosive device".

 

 

She went on the say that the "heartbreaking" reality of people needing to "sleep by the underground entrance" needed to be addressed.

The homeless group sent a letter to her on Thursday, after being evicted from what they claim is the "the closest thing they ever had to a home".

The letter said: "Our belongings were taken and thrown away without warning, sleeping bags and all. We were harassed under the 1824 Vagrancy Act and then without a warning given, a grate was installed expelling us from the best shelter in the area and the closest thing we had to a home.

"The tunnel now sits warm and empty and unused at night while we sleep outside."

Hudson-Wilkin, who is set to become the bishop of Dover in November told the Guardian she had not yet received the letter but plans to respond when she does.

"In 21st-century Britain nobody should have to sleep outdoors in conditions like that," she added.

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