David Renton

David Renton is a barrister at Garden Court chambers and a professor at SOAS.

Short Cuts: Swinging the Baton

David Renton, 4 August 2022

The Queen’s Speech​ in May included proposals for a new Public Order Bill intended, according to the government’s briefing notes, to deal with ‘highly disruptive protests’, such as those by Insulate Britain and Extinction Rebellion, and against HS2. It will resuscitate clauses from the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that were rejected by the Lords, such as...

Short Cuts: Vanity and Cupidity

David Renton, 24 February 2022

For ten years Horatio Bottomley had been an MP, for thirty he had fought his way through the court system without significant reverse. People stopped laughing at Bottomley’s jokes only when they grasped the source of his money. It was not enough that he lied or that he enriched himself. They needed to see that he was rich because he stole from them.

From The Blog
31 August 2021

Under Tony Blair, Jeremy Corbyn was a tolerated and ignored backbencher. Today, he is denied even that freedom. And yet his followers have behind them the force of a simple argument. The Labour Party’s last year and a half is a familiar episode in the long decline of social democracy, in which leaders demobilise their supporters and see their vote shrink. But as recently as four years ago Labour was able to increase its support faster than at any time since 1945. Many of Corbyn’s supporters are young, black or Muslim, and these are social constituencies in which the Labour Party is now losing support sharply. If Labour wants to appeal again to those voters, it will need to make some sort of compromise with Corbyn.

From The Blog
1 April 2021

In May 2020, one of my clients asked the local authority – her landlord – when essential maintenance work would start at her home. Damp and mould had made her daughter’s bedroom uninhabitable. ‘It seems to us that you have not given a moment’s attention to present realities,’ the landlord responded. ‘Staff are low in numbers across many of the council’s departments due to personnel self-isolating.’ I told her not to be disheartened, everything was slower in the lockdown. The works would be delayed but they would happen. I was less sanguine when I saw the same excuse being given in letters written in August and September, when even bowling alleys and casinos were open.

Becoming homeless is easily done

David Renton, 7 May 2020

Government support for tenants has been partial and grudging. No minister has suggested that tenants should be granted rent holidays, or that any delay in paying rent during the lockdown should be ignored when payments are due after it ends: tenants may be expected to pay all arrears at once. Still less has there been any proposal to take regulatory action against landlords who use Covid-19 as an excuse to make tenants homeless. Instead the government has published non-statutory guidance inviting landlords to offer ‘support and understanding’ to struggling tenants. One chambers, which principally represents landlords, wrote to its clients last month to say that the government’s proposals at that point did ‘not of themselves prevent evictions . . . Notices served pre-the Act coming into force can be used to start possession proceedings.’ Eventually, after criticism in the press and Parliament, the government grudgingly conceded a three-month stay on possession proceedings from 27 March.

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