Buckingham Palace should be turned into council flats, Labour’s London housing spokesman has suggested.
Tom Copley’s controversial call to evict the Queen from her landmark residence was made at the annual Class conference held in London.
Addressing the audience of Labour supporters and trade unionists he said: “I almost think my opening gambit should be that the solution to the housing crisis should be the late Mo Mowlam’s proposal that we turn Buckingham Palace into council housing – which I always thought wasn’t a particularly bad idea.”
His speech, made as Labour’s housing spokesman on the London Assembly, came days after he launched an outspoken attack in his blog on “stomach churning” tributes on the birth of Prince George.
Mr Copley joked about that row in his opening remarks, saying listeners “may be forgiven for thinking I am the royal spokesperson for the Labour group”.
But Tory vice-chairman Bob Neill branded his call to confiscate the Palace “mean-spirited and vindictive”.
“Not content with spouting drivel on his blog, Tom Copley has continued to wage war against the royal family this week,” he said.
“These kind of vindictive and mean-spirited ideas won’t wash with most people – he couldn’t be more out of touch.
“The public want politicians who do their job, not who spend their time on a foolish anti-monarchy campaign whose sole aim is self-publicity.”
Mr Copley today said his comment had not been meant seriously. “I was quoting the late Mo Mowlam and it was a joke. Bob Neill urgently needs to locate a sense of humour.”
However, Mr Copley later conceded he may have misquoted former Cabinet minister Dr Mowlam, who died in 2005. She once wrote an article proposing that the queen move out of Buckingham Palace – but her idea was to turn it into a museum and to spend millions on a brand new residence for the Queen.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday in 1994, Dr Mowlam explicitly said her idea was not anti-Royal. “This must not be seen as an attempt to undermine the monarchy, but as a way of allowing it to enjoy a boost in public support,” she said. There was no mention of turning the Palace into council flats.
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