Housing

Give royal palaces to homeless, says Count Binface in London Mayor bid

The novelty candidate is raising funds to take on Sadiq Khan in May’s mayoral elections and has promised to give leftover cash to homelessness charity Shelter

Count Binface

Count Binface wants the royal family to give up palaces to house homeless people. Image credit: Count Binface

Homelessness is likely to be a big issue at May’s London mayoral elections – and novelty candidate Count Binface has kicked things off with demands for the royals to give palaces to people living without a home.

Count Binface, created by comedian Jon Harvey, revealed his manifesto on Monday with a wide-ranging set of promises, including renaming London Bridge ‘Phoebe Waller’ in honour of the Fleabag star, installing Ross Kemp as the next poet laureate and putting London back in the EU.

But one of the pledges may have struck a chord with voters as social media debated the royal family’s merits ahead of Monday’s UK broadcast of Harry and Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey.

Binface promised: “The Royal Family to keep one of Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, St James’ Palace and Clarence House, with the rest gifted to the nation to help eradicate homelessness. If the royals complain that one palace isn’t enough, they will be forced to buy Crystal Palace FC.”

The idea to use the royals’ palaces to house homeless people has already chimed with some voters on social media.

One user repeated the call and said: “Let’s turn all Royal buildings into homeless shelters and safe places for ethnic minorities, women and children to feel safe. 

“William and Kate can keep one though coz I like them and their kids.”

Another added: “Wouldn’t it be nice if the royal family just ended and all the palaces got turned into homeless shelters and all the crown jewels got dispersed among NHS workers and we all had one less pointless thing to obsess about.”

While the blue-sky thinking from Binface is welcome – who wouldn’t want to spend the night in a palace? – other candidates may well point to the need for affordable housing to solve homelessness in the long run.

Current London Mayor Sadiq Khan is likely to focus on rent controls to keep people in homes as well as promising more council housing while Conservative rival Shaun Bailey is promising to ramp up shared ownership properties. However, Bailey attracted criticism in January for his claim that homeless families could save up for a £5,000 deposit to move into one of his mooted 100,000 affordable homes priced at £100,000.

Green candidate Sian Berry has vowed to source specific housing for LGBTQ+ groups in London to tackle youth homelessness.

Surely a likely win from one of these main candidates will be a relief for the royals too.

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However, the Count Binface campaign could yet still do plenty to eradicate homelessness in the English capital. The non-profit bid is intended to raise awareness of homelessness, according to Binface, and will see funds raised for Shelter if the GoFundMe campaign to cover his running deposit tops £10,000.

Count Binface told The Big Issue: “Homelessness is an issue that’s close to my internal fluid pumping organ. In the 21st century it is indefensible that a wealthy nation like the UK should allow people to sleep rough on the streets.

“There is a ludicrous number of properties owned by the rich minority and which are left empty for lots of the time, while other people have nothing. If an alien came down to Earth and saw this they’d say it’s a disgrace. Well I am that alien.

“It’s a disgrace. If it takes a space warrior with a bin for a head to make this point, it just goes to show that this issue – which is a big issue, to coin a phrase – needs to move up the political agenda. Let’s make homelessness history.”

Binface has tasted defeat against an ex-London Mayor before – losing to Boris Johnson in Uxbridge and South Ruislip at the 2019 General Election, He fell just short, collecting 69 votes compared to Johnson’s 5,034.

And, of course, Count Binface is not the only no-hoper making joke demands in the London Mayor race this year. In fact, he has even secured the backing of his main competitor for last place: The Reclaim Party’s Laurence Fox.

https://twitter.com/LozzaFox/status/1368667485046779906

Count Binface added: “I am immensely grateful for Laurence’s vote of confidence and I wish him well in his campaign. However, I have a sense that he might be joking.

“Nevertheless, if I successfully raise the £10k deposit to stand in the election I fancy my chances of beating Lozza. My manifesto is far superior to everyone else’s. If Mr Fox is equally confident, maybe he can bung me a few quid.”

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