The death of a rough sleeper who was found unresponsive near the Tube entrance to Parliament has sparked an outcry among politicians over the UK’s homelessness crisis.
Homeless people often sleep in that area of the station during the night.
Politicians have since paid their respects with many calling on more to be done to combat rough sleeping across Britain.
Jeremy Corbyn is believed to have asked for flowers to be laid where a man was found dead a stone’s throw from Parliament.
It is understood that some members of the Labour leader’s team were in contact with the man, who is thought to be homeless, and used to bring him food.
Mr Corbyn wrote on Twitter: “I’ve just been told about the death of a rough sleeper right by the entrance to Parliament.
“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.”
Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy described the incident as a “shocking indictment” of the Governments record on talking homelessness.
He said: “Truly awful. A shocking indictment of this Government’s record. Every day when I come into Parliament I wonder if Cabinet Ministers don’t also see the hugely increased numbers of people rough sleeping outside Parliament and realise they need to act urgently.”
Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, said the man was seen “frequently” at the entrance to the Tube station.
The Labour MP wrote on the social media site: “A homeless man who was seen frequently at the tube entrance to Portcullis House Westminster underground station has been found dead today. Whatever the circumstances it’s a terrible tragedy that somebody ends their days like this, the govt must do more to combat homelessness.”
A spokeswoman for the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “The Mayor was deeply saddened to hear about the death of a man at Westminster Tube station earlier today.”
Polly Neate, CEO at homeless charity Shelter, said: “We are very sad to hear of this man’s tragic death. Those sleeping on our streets have to endure the cold, poor health, regular abuse and sometimes violence.
“Tragically many rough sleepers will die younger as a result. And yet homelessness continues to rise.
“We need to do more to help people off the streets, and we must do more to prevent homelessness in the first place. That means tackling the lack of genuinely affordable homes which is at the root of this crisis.”
Figures released in January found that more people are sleeping rough on the streets of England than at any point this decade, with numbers rocketing 73% since 2014.
Local authorities estimated there were around 4,751 rough sleepers on a single night in autumn 2017, according to data from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) – the highest number since comparable records began in 2010.
Scotland Yard said the man’s death is being treated as unexplained, but not suspicious.
A London Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called at 7.16am today to Westminster Tube station, to reports of a man not breathing.
“We sent a team leader, an advanced paramedic, a cycle responder and two ambulance crews.
“Sadly, despite resuscitation efforts, he died at the scene.”
A House of Commons spokesman said: “We are saddened to hear of the death of an individual this morning at Westminster Tube Station and offer our condolences to their friends and family at this difficult time.”
A Westminster City Council spokesman said: “Westminster City Council outreach services discovered the body this morning and attempted to give CPR until paramedics and police arrived.
“This is a very sad incident and we will work with police as they establish the cause of death.
“In the meantime, anyone worried about a rough sleeper can visit www.streetlink.org.uk to alert our teams and allow us to provide routes off the street and into safety.”