Former Conservative MP to join forces with Labour to tackle housing

In a statement to Labour officials on 8th May, MP for Dover, Natalie Elphicke announced she has crossed party lines and will sit in Parliament as a Labour MP.

Before becoming an MP, Elphicke had been heavily involved in housing policy. In 2013, she formed a housing charity and campaigning group, Million Homes Million Live’s and published a report in 2015 in association with Eastleigh Borough Council on how councils could contribute to housing supply.

She was appointed as the Chief Executive of the Housing and Finance Institute under the Cameron-Clegg coalition in which she oversaw a pilot scheme to facilitate effective ways to integrate the provision of infrastructure and utilities into housing developments.

Since becoming an MP, Elphicke has continued her focus on housing serving as Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and chaired the New Homes Quality Board, an independent body created by government to improve quality in housebuilding.

Mirroring the local and mayoral election results last week, Elphicke’s defection is a result to what she described as “broken promises of Rishi Sunak’s tired and chaotic government”.

In her statement, Elphicke stated:

“Rishi Sunak’s Government is now failing to build the homes we need. Last year saw the largest fall of new housing starts in England in a single year since the credit crunch. The manifesto committed to 300,000 homes next year – but only around half that number are now set to be built.

“Meanwhile Labour plan to build the homes we need, help young people onto the housing ladder and care about the vulnerable and homeless. That’s why I’m honoured to have been asked to work with Keir and the team to help deliver the homes we need.”

As she joins forces with Sir Keir Starmer MP and his team, it seems she is keen to bring her commitment and experience to the table and may well play an important role in helping deliver Labour’s housing agenda. Angela Rayner has clarified to Labour MPs that Elphicke will not hold any formal role within the party including advising on housing policy, an area overseen by Rayner herself!

While Elphicke’s defection may lend credibility to Labour’s housing agenda and further highlight a Conservative party in disarray, it remains to be seen how her contribution to the party will unfold in practice.

Author: Melisa Geshteja

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