CHRISTCHURCH MP Chris Chope has defended his role in ‘talking out’ a government-backed effort to ban tenants from being evicted for complaining about poor housing.

A bill proposed by Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather, with cross-party backing, ran out of time in Parliament after Conservative MP Philip Davies spoke for an hour, followed by a lengthy speech by Mr Chope.

The legislation on ‘revenge evictions’ could still have passed if if a motion to put it to the vote had been passed with a majority of 100, but only 60 MPs turned up to support the move.

Mr Chope’s action attracted furious criticism from housing campaigners and on Twitter. The group Generation Rent claimed on Twitter that “rogue landlords remain free to evict tenants who ask for repairs”, while the Daily Mirror’s column Real Britain described Mr Chope as the “MP that objected to Hillsborough debate, tried to stop Alan Turing pardon & loves selling council houses”.

Mr Chope, who denied claims on Twitter that he was a landlord himself, said the government itself should have produced a bill on the subject.

He said: “The bill would have enabled people who weren’t paying their rent to delay the opportunity for the landlord to recover possession – and that means that landlords then get deterred from letting properties because they could not be sure whether they could recover possession.

“They find themselves with tenants that are using the law against them so they become the victims.”

He said that scenario was “relatively rare” but so were cases of people being evicted for complaining about the standard of their housing.

He added: “We need the government to look into this. If the government want to bring forward legislation, they can.

“We don’t want to have a reduction in the number of tenancies available. My background goes back to the days when we had rent controls and it was almost impossible to evict people from tenancies and the consequence was there were hardly any tenancies to be had.”

Campbell Robb, chief executive of Shelter, said: “It’s outrageous that two MPs have obstructed a bill with cross-party support to end revenge evictions.

“Because of their actions, hundreds of thousands of people will continue to face the appalling choice between living in a home that puts them or their children in danger, or risking eviction if they complain.”

During the debate, Labour MP Jim Fitzpatrick said it was not fair to blame Mr Chope and Mr Davies for blocking the bill. “If the bill is as important as many of us believe, we should have had 100 colleagues here to support it,” he said.