POLITICS
04/12/2019 18:58 GMT

Jeremy Corbyn Says He Will Let Rough Sleepers Live In Chequers If He's Prime Minister

Empty country residence would "indeed" be handed to homeless people, Labour leader tells ITV.

Jeremy Corbyn has suggested he would give up the prime minister’s Chequers residence to homeless people if the Labour Party takes power in next week’s general election.

The Labour leader said “it can’t be right” for the country home to be empty while “we’ve still got people sleeping on the streets”.

Corbyn suggested he would follow shadow chancellor John McDonnell’s lead and give the stately Buckinghamshire home to a homeless family.

McDonnell has said he would do the same with Number 11 Downing Street if he becomes chancellor.

The sixteenth-century residence in the Chiltern Hills was gifted a century ago to whoever holds the office of prime minister to allow them a place to retreat from the bustle of Downing Street, with Chequers only 41 miles from Westminster.

In an interview with ITV’s Julie Etchingham, Corbyn said he would “indeed” give over the 1,000 acres of lavish surroundings to those without a home.

Julie Etchingham: “John McDonnell said he wouldn’t move into number eleven. He’d allow a homeless family to live there.

 

“Would you consider giving up Chequers if you were prime minister?”

 

Jeremy Corbyn: “I would indeed. It can’t be right. We’re a country with 150 billionaires, and we’ve still got people sleeping on the streets.” 

John and Tina Reid via Getty Images
Aerial view of Chequers, the official residence of British prime ministers.

During the interview, the MP suggested he did not watch the Queen’s message is aired on Christmas Day - a response that many on social media suggested was not an issue.

Asked whether he sat down to watch the Queen’s annual message, he said: “It’s on in the morning, usually we have it on.”

But he was corrected by Etchingham, who told him: “It’s not on in the morning. It’s at three o’clock in the afternoon.”

Corbyn replied by saying he and his family “don’t watch television very much on Christmas Day” and are often out visiting homeless shelters instead.

Pressed on whether he usually watches the monarch’s public addresses, the 70-year-old said: “There is lots to do. I enjoy the presence of my family and friends around Christmas. Obviously, like everybody else does.

“And, I also visit the homeless shelter, either on Christmas Day, or the day before, to talk to, and listen to people’s lives, about how they could be made better with a government that cared for them.”

The full programme – The Leader Interviews: Jeremy Corbyn – Tonight – will air on ITV at 7.30pm on Thursday.