Housing activists seize MPs' home

Housing activists seize MPs' home

A group of housing activists have entered and occupied the house of expenses-scandal hit husband and wife Anne and Alan Keene.

Both Labour MPs they were known as “Mr and Mrs Expenses” two years before the MP spending scandal broke; Mrs Keen, a health minister recently admitted making an expense claim for private hospital treatment for a member of her staff. At the centre of their scandal was their double mortgage claim, where they illegally used Parliamentary expenses to pay interest on the mortgages of both their homes – one of which has now been occupied by outraged locals along with activists from all backgrounds and nationalities.

It was revealed several days ago that they faced having their Hounslow constituency home repossessed by the council after leaving it empty for over a year. The £385,000 three-bedroom terrace was being renovated whilst they stayed in their central home London near Parliament which they billed the public £137,679 for. After an alleged falling out with the builders the house was left empty, but at a local residents meeting a member of the public alerted activists to the location of the house, and 2 days ago it was occupied.

Speaking by phone one of the occupants explained why they had taken the building and what they wanted to happen.

“We want to get back something that has been taken from us in the expenses scandal. Everyone pays taxes, either directly or through VAT on their shopping - we’ve all been taken from. There are 10,000 people on the housing waiting list in Hounslow alone – and people like the Keens are spending our money on keeping houses empty.”

“Everyone who is needs housing should occupy empty buildings, but as Anne Keene voted in favour of the war in Iraq, displacing and killing millions of people, we demand she gets in touch with refugee centres to make reparations. In the meantime, the house will hopefully become a refugee centre and home to some of the people she made homeless through poverty and war.”

The group are asking for solidarity. Donations of food and water, bedding, hinges and screws are to be taken to:

38 Brook Rd South,
Brentford,
TW8 0NN

Comments

bens
Jun 28 2009 03:45

Brilliant stuff. They are a particularly odious New Labour pair. Their voting record says it all; they have both voted against a transparent parliament, against an investgation into the Iraq war. Voted for ID cards, student top-up fees, for the Iraq war, for the replacement of Trident and for the "anti-terrorism" laws.

akai
Jun 28 2009 08:55

Excuse me, can somebody please explain what a "constituency home " is? Is this taxpayer-financed housing for politicians or another form of subsidized housing? Thanks.

Steven.
Jun 28 2009 09:50

Yes, it is a home in the area they represent - their "constituency" - and it is funded by the taxpayer for MPs.

Futility, thanks for posting this, I switched it to be a news article, and just added a picture. Please feel free to post things like this directly as news articles.

Pretty funny stuff!

futility index
Jun 28 2009 10:47

They should get this out to the media properly - Jacko and Iran have pushed the expenses thing off the front pages, be cool for a story about direct action to bring peoples attention back on it.

hitman
Jun 28 2009 11:06

Every day I visit my friends at a London day centre for the homeless ; some are rough street sleepers or vulnerably housed, so I can testify on how bad things are beginning to grow worse for the many, not just under the sun but under the stars every night.

Food handouts are the lifeline that most rely upon along with some day centres, and it's quite a sight to see up to 200 men and women queue, line up for food sometimes, I joke not, even fight for it.

In London as we move closer to the 2012 Olympics the authority's are beginning to harass and beset rough sleepers in attempt to clear the streets, this will get worse over the next year or so I guess! What I would like to see is the setting up of a tent city as near to the Olympic Park as possible and would be interested to learn what others think about this idea!

Tart
Jun 28 2009 13:52
Quote:
They should get this out to the media properly - Jacko and Iran have pushed the expenses thing off the front pages, be cool for a story about direct action to bring peoples attention back on it.

BBC radio are running it on national services- evidently the occupiers are offering the house to an Iraqi family made refugee by the war for oil because the unlovely couple were such keen advocates of the war.

Quote:
In London as we move closer to the 2012 Olympics the authority's are beginning to harass and beset rough sleepers in attempt to clear the streets, this will get worse over the next year or so I guess! What I would like to see is the setting up of a tent city as near to the Olympic Park as possible and would be interested to learn what others think about this idea

That sounds like a great idea but I would suggest it would meet fierce state opposition. It would need a critical mass of people and publicity to prevent it from becoming a swift baton festival for the Met.
Plenty of homeless bodies to lay in front of the oncoming tanks and these days there would be ex soldiers and ruined middle classes to deflect the fear and hatred the homeless traditionally get. It would not be an easy thing to make work as people with problems are most likely to be homeless and a large concentration of people with problems makes for interesting times. The combination of confronting property laws and bourgeois miss-management of resources and their indifference to the suffering they cause could give a huge resonance. It looks a very good idea on first sight.
Thinking back to worse days for my self it would have been great to do something like this to break the fear and isolation of that individual struggle for basic survival- by luck I got into a "politico" squat and from there back into the economic system with help form other squatters. In the next few years I face the possibility of homelessness again and frankly (at my age) it scares me shitless!
From the reassuring position of knowing I will not be involved until at least 2013 may I commend the idea.?

hitman
Jun 28 2009 21:48

Hi Tart,

Thanks for your thoughts; and I see no reason why an organized protest could not be a probability at the time of the 2012 Olympic's, and yes, it would not be an easy thing to pull off, but not an over enthusiastic proposition given that we have time to do groundwork and the necessaries, such as networking to try and bring on board others like climate camp, ante--poverty and campaigning housing activists. By the time of the Olympic's the chances are the Tories will be running British capitalism, implementing cuts in services as well as presiding over record numbers confined to a life on the dole and being forced to work for their benefits.

Anything is possible when people come together, you know it makes sense!

Tart
Jun 28 2009 21:55

Yeah it is a big idea but a good one and well achievable- Hooverville E17.
I

Skips
Jun 29 2009 09:06

This is the best thing I have heard. When I read that there constituency home was lying empty. I joked to a friend that it would be the ideal place to squat. Amazing news. Congrats to all.

no1
Jun 29 2009 16:18

It's now on the bbc website:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8124763.stm

Quote:
Married Labour MPs Ann and Alan Keen have come under fire for claiming thousands of pounds on a second home near Parliament, while their designated main home is only 10 miles away.

Now a group of men have taken direct action by squatting in the main home they say has been left unoccupied. The BBC's Lisa Hampele paid them a visit.

flaneur
Jun 29 2009 21:08

Was in today's Daily Mail also/

lexy
Jul 3 2009 10:36