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Closed Circuit: political spin

John Healey performs gymnastics, Bath gets Victorian on rough sleepers and Westminster Council takes a tough line on itself

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Closed Circuit: the best political spin you'll see this year #ukhousing

Closed Circuit: the Victorian bylaws being used against rough sleepers #ukhousing

Closed Circuit: Westminster Council to clamp down on... itself #ukhousing

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Shortly before Christmas, London mayor Sadiq Khan launched his Rogue Landlord and Agent Checker.

The database allows potential private tenants to find out landlords and letting agents previously prosecuted or hit with civil enforcement action for housing-related misdemeanours.

One of the first 10 boroughs to give support to the register was Westminster City Council. The same Westminster City Council which issued a notice against a letting agent set up and owned by its own ALMO, City West Homes, for breaches of the Consumer Rights Act.

That’s right: Westminster City Council may well have to list itself (or, at least, its ALMO’s subsidiary) as a rogue letting agent. Though, strangely, City West Residential doesn’t appear on the register quite yet.


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Closed Circuit readers will no doubt have read about the highly controversial comments made by Simon Dudley, leader of the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead and Homes and Communities Agency board member last week.

The councillor called on the police to use the Vagrancy Act (of 1824) to remove rough sleepers from the town ahead of the royal wedding in May.

Bath and North East Somerset Council may have some sympathy with Mr Dudley’s chagrin. Notices have been appearing on the possessions of the area’s rough sleepers, threatening to fine those who do not remove their tents – evoking byelaws from 1875 and 1906.

Readers are invited to make their own minds up about the wisdom and fairness of using century-old local legislation to manage 2018’s homelessness problem.


And finally, Closed Circuit doffs its cap to shadow housing secretary John Healey, who demonstrated some of the best political spin we have witnessed this year last week.

Visiting a local gymnasium, Mr Healey jumped onto one of the pull-up bars and managed a 180 rotation, both backwards and forwards. Now it’s fair to say he did do it pretty slowly, but for a suited 57-year-old MP, Closed Circuit was extremely impressed by the shadow minister’s core stability, and only a little disappointed that it didn’t all go wrong and result in a much funnier video.

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