PMQs: Nick tackles Gordon on home repossessions

by Stephen Tall on January 16, 2008

Nick Clegg continued where his debut last week left off – focusing on the ‘bread and butter’ issues that affect the lives of everyday folk. Two good solid questions, both dodged by Gordon Brown, who crow-barred in a ham-fisted reference to the ‘Calamity Clegg’ dossier (to the crowing delight of Labour backbenchers) – ensuring it was in answer to the second question, so there was no opportunity for Nick to respond.

Anyway, here’s the exchange in full as recorded by Hansard – you can watch the encounter here on the BBC website here, or listen to it on The Guardian website here.

Mr. Nick Clegg (Sheffield, Hallam) (LD): The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors says that home repossessions will rocket this year by 50 per cent., with one repossession every 12 minutes. What comfort can the Prime Minister offer the 45,000 British families who now face the prospect of losing their homes this year?

The Prime Minister: What I can say to them is that we are determined to have low interest rates; to have low interest rates we have to have low inflation; and to have low inflation we have to have a decent economic policy, which I am afraid the hon. Gentleman’s party does not have.

Mr. Clegg: The reality is that the Prime Minister allowed, on his watch, grossly irresponsible lending practices by banks to destabilise the housing market. Will he act now to ensure that mortgage lenders take their responsibilities seriously and do more to stop evictions, or will he just sit there wringing his hands while British families lose their homes?

The Prime Minister: I think that the hon. Gentleman forgets that there are 1.5 million more home owners under a Labour Government than there were before our Government started. We have extended home ownership to all regions of the country and to people who previously could not afford it.
I have been given a copy of the dossier on the hon. Gentleman that, unfortunately, was prepared by the person sitting next to him, who suggests that on every major economic and social issue the leader of the Liberal party has flip-flopped, and keeps flip-flopping.