Landlord ministers who voted against making homes “fit for human habitation” should resign in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster, the Labour Party’s chairman has suggested.
Ian Lavery said fire minister Nick Hurd and communities secretary Sajid Javid should be “looking in the mirror” and asking “am I fit for office?”.
The two were among 72 Tory MPs - which were all registered as making more than £10,000 a year in income from a property they own - who voted against the Labour amendment to the Landlord and Tenant Act.
The amendment stipulated that private sector landlords must ensure homes are “fit for human habitation” in 2016.
It comes after the death toll of the Kensington tragedy rose to 79 this week with cheap cladding thought to be behind the rapid spread of the blaze.
The Conservatives, who defeated the amendment, said the demand would have pushed up rent for tenants as it placed an extra financial burden on landlords.
Lavery said Hurd and Javid, who will play high-profile roles in the aftermath of the Kensington disaster, should consider their positions - even though passing the amendment would not have affected Grenfell Tower, because it was aimed at private landlords.
He said: “We live in one of the richest countries on the planet. Decent housing for all is a most modest demand. It’s a basic human right.
“Seventy two Conservative MPs who benefit from renting accommodation voted against our amendment to make homes fit for human habitation, a basic right for their tenants.
“Quite frankly it beggars belief, it’s beyond comprehension; greed before decent habitable homes for those already struggling.
“And for these senior ministers, they need to explain openly and transparently why they don’t think it necessary to have decent habitable homes for those needing accommodation.
“I’d be looking in the mirror and asking myself some real simple questions about integrity and scruples. Am I fit for office?”
Laura Pidcock, the newly-elected MP for North West Durham, said property-letting MPs have a “conflict of interest” when it comes to voting on housing regulations for tenants and should not be allowed to vote on them.
She said it left the door open for a “stitch up”, adding: “I think that anyone who is a landlord should not be able to vote on legislation affecting landlords, it is a complete conflict of interest.
“Of course they won’t vote for further protections for people in their homes and will try to get a way with as little regulation as possible, as they perceive that this will affect their profits.
“The people of Grenfell Tower have had their concerns repeatedly ignored and it is part of our long history as working class people to have our concerns ignored.”
Pidcock added the Grenfell Tower tragedy was a watershed moment for the UK, which could have wide-reaching implications for housing policy.
She said: “Grenfell Tower symbolises the catastrophic failings of the housing system in this country: the failings of privatisation; subcontracting; the scandal of MPs who are also landlords being able to stitch up legislation to benefit their business.
“It shows our public services cut to the bone, understaffed and undervalued, and it shows the human cost of gentrification and typifies the underhand, government-led social cleansing of inner cities.”
HuffPost UK has approached Nick Hurd and Sajdi Javid for a comment.
The 72 MPs who were registered as deriving income from property of over £10,000 a year and who voted against the law, were as follows:
Simon Kirby (teller)
Anne Marie Morris
Sarah Newton (teller)