Herefordshire’s Green leader and parliamentary candidate Ellie Chowns has clashed on live TV with housing minister Lee Rowley on whether the national housing shortage is due to immigration.

Dr Chowns said it was “really shameful” of the minister “to try to blame the housing crisis on one factor, immigration, which is not true”.

“There’s nothing shameful about being honest with (people), and saying policies need to be linked.” Mr Rowley, the Conservative MP for North East Derbyshire, replied.


“Housing is a function of population and we have to decide what level of population we want,” he said.

“We are the only major party on this panel to be straight with you about immigration, which is that we need to cut it.”

Challenged by host Krishnan Guru-Murthy with “blaming” homelessness on immigration, he replied: “No, but you have to understand how policies work and interact with each other.”


Dr Chowns, the Greens’ national spokesperson on housing and communities, said there were “all sorts of factors driving the demand for housing – some people owning more than one house, people living longer, families splitting up”.

“The key thing is the price of housing has gone up and up,” she said.

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“We need policies like local rent controls so people can afford just to rent, never mind getting on the housing ladder.”

Labour MP Alison McGovern said councils need greater powers in order to build more social housing.

The debate from Gloucester, where the Conservatives risk losing their majority at local elections on May 2, was broadcast live as part of Channel 4 News, and also included Liberal Democrat and Reform UK representatives.