Secretary of State for housing and communities Brokenshire, 50, appeared on Good Morning Britain today to discuss the prevalent issue of homelessness in the UK and its rising figures.
The Conservative politician began by expressing to ITV presenters Ranvir and Adil Ray the party’s plans are to “eradicate rough sleeping over a nine year period”.
Yet as the MP continued 41-year-old host Ranvir appeared to lose her patience with him during the debate.
Speaking via video link, Brokenshire said: “Of course our intent is to eradicate the rough sleeping over a nine year period but I want to see impact quickly.
“We’ve already done a rough sleeping initiative to support charities and councils on the front line.
“We also want to help people into shelters and accommodation quickly,” he shared.
Yet as the MP continued to outline his plans Ranvir proceeded to labour the point, and the interview became heated.
“So the increase in homelessness under your watch is something you have to respond to isn’t it?” Ranvir asked. “And not just by saying we’re putting more money in, but by saying we got it wrong and badly.”
Brokenshire stumbled: “Well have numbers gone up? Yes they have, and that’s why I’ve already acknowledged that…
“But why have they gone up?” Ranvir demanded. “Do you accept the accusation that the Tory government, which you are part of of course, that you are responsible?”
“I don’t accept the direct charge that you’re trying to make and the terms that you are…” the MP trailed off.
Brokenshire went on to explain: “Has homelessness gone up? Then if you actually look at the overall numbers on council homelessness and the actual waiting lists those numbers have started to go down.
“But on this issue of rough sleeping that we’re talking about today, are the numbers too high? Yes they are.
“What are the causes behind all of that? Well they are varied, you can look at the issue of mental health and addiction, where sadly of those who die out on the streets there are a third of those that are linked to addiction. You can look at the issue over rentals and the private rental sector, how actually getting security into that will make a difference.
“There are a range of different issues here and of course in relation to welfare we will continue to monitor the evidence, the information on this hugely sensitive issue.
“We know in relation to rough sleepers sometimes it can be tough for them to get the help they need,” Brokenshire added, but Ranvir interjected before the MP could get any further.
“Because of the changes that your government brought in!” she declared.
As the tense debate dissipated, Ranvir and Adil proceeded to quiz the MP on his feelings about former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s comments made about women and burkas last week.
“I wouldn’t have made those comments,” Brokenshire admitted, as the presenters went on to ask him if he thinks Johnson should apologise for saying women wearing burkas look like “letterboxes” and “bank robbers” in his column last week.
“You’re trying to put me in a position where I’m saying something I would not have said,” the political complained, but Ranvir refused to give up.
“I wonder why you’re finding it uncomfortable to say Boris should apologise,” Ranvir said, pushing the Conservative party member to clarify.
“I think his words were wrong,” Brokenshire confessed. “I can’t be clearer than that. I would reflect on the words that have been chosen very clearly [if it was me].”