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‘Bunch of sociopaths’: Tory who said rough sleeping is better than army housing tasked with tackling homelessness, provoking anger

‘Bunch of sociopaths’: Tory who said rough sleeping is better than army housing tasked with tackling homelessness, provoking anger
A former British Army captain who once claimed that sleeping on the street is “a lot more comfortable” than military accommodation has been tasked with ending homelessness in the UK, provoking outrage online.

Adam Holloway, Conservative MP for Gravesham, is to be appointed as the parliamentary aide to the housing, communities and local government secretary, Robert Jenrick, as part of measures to tackle rough sleeping. However, some of Holloway’s past comments on homelessness have cast doubts about his appropriateness to fulfill such a complex role. 

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During a debate in the House of Commons in 2018, the military veteran revealed how he had spent some nights out in London to see what it was like to sleep rough in the capital. He claimed that “many people choose to be on the street,” before comparing it to his experience in the army.

To be honest, sleeping rough in central London is a lot more comfortable than going on exercise when I was in the army.

In the same debate, Holloway insisted that begging was “part of the problem,” telling lawmakers that an able-bodied person could make “quite a lot” of cash from it.

The remarks have been condemned by the Labour Party. Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey slammed PM Boris Johnson’s choice for the role, saying that it was a “shameful disrespect to those living and dying on our streets” to appoint someone who believes “rough sleeping is a lifestyle choice.”

Many on social media were also left outraged at Holloway’s appointment, with one person on Twitter labeling Johnson’s administration a “dehumanising bunch of sociopaths.”Others questioned whether fellow army veterans who sleep rough would agree with the Tory MP’s assessment. 

Another suggested that it was wrong to draw comparisons with army personnel who are given a roof over their heads and provided with daily meals, saying: “He just doesn’t get it does he?”

News of Holloway’s appointment comes on the same day the UK government published annual figures showing that rough sleeping has declined by 9 percent to 4,266 people in England during the last year. However, the total is still up 141 percent since the Conservatives took office in 2010, when 1,768 people were sleeping on the streets.

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