Jeremy Corbyn leaves flowers for deceased rough sleeper

Flowers and a card signed by Jeremy Corbyn have been laid where a rough sleeper was found dead a stone's throw from Parliament.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Picture: Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

It is understood some members of the Labour leader’s team were in contact with the homeless man and would take him food.

He was found in the underpass of exit three of Westminster Underground station this morning and pronounced dead at the scene, the Metropolitan Police said.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Flowers were found near the station entrance, with a card that read: “This should never have happened. As a country we must stop walking by. Rest in peace. Jeremy Corbyn.”

Another card “from all the staff of the leader of the Labour Party” said it was “such a tragic loss”.

Figures released last month found more people were sleeping rough on the streets of England than at any point this decade, with numbers rocketing 73 per cent since 2014.

Local authorities estimated there were around 4,751 rough sleepers on a single night in autumn last year – the highest number since comparable records started in 2010.

Mr Corbyn said on Twitter: “The powerful can’t carry on walking by on the other side while people don’t have a home to call their own.

“It’s time all MPs took up this moral challenge and properly housed everyone.”

Other Labour MPs tweeted their response to the news, including shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, David Lammy, Neil Coyle, Emma Lewell-Buck and Paula Sherriff.

The area of the station where the man was found is often used by homeless people to sleep during the night.

Ms Lewell-Buck wrote: “This totally breaks my heart, if it is who I think I and many other MPs have spoken to him and helped him out where we could.”

Mr Lammy said he wonders “every day” when he goes to Westminster if Cabinet ministers see the “increased numbers of people rough sleeping outside Parliament”.

Westminster City Council said at the previous head count in January just under 200 people were sleeping rough in the borough.

A spokesman said extra street team patrols were carried out during cold weather snaps.

On this occasion, the council’s outreach services discovered the body and attempted CPR until police and paramedics arrived.

He added: “Anyone worried about a rough sleeper can visit to alert our teams and allow us to provide routes off the street and into safety.”

A spokesman for London Ambulance Service said it was called at 7:16am to reports of a man not breathing.

Scotland Yard said the man was pronounced dead at 7:33am. The incident was being treated as unexplained, but not suspicious.