Russell Brand has started a petition to help protect people sleeping rough in Windsor, UK, ahead of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's May wedding. The comedian and actor was horrified to hear local councillor Simon Dudley's plea to police to clear the homeless from the area because it he reckons it would be a bad look.
Thousands of people are expected to flock to the Berkshire town when Harry and Meghan tie the knot on 19 May - and councillor Dudley doesn't want them to see 'aggressive begging and intimidation' from the homeless residents.
But Russell Brand's petition hopes to allow charity Slough Homeless Our Concern to use a council building to rehouse those without a roof over their heads.
More than 15,000 people have signed the initiative, with Brand writing: "As a wedding present for Harry and Meghan, and as a rebuke to the low frequency conduct of Councillor Dudley and any who would further victimise the vulnerable, we are asking that Slough Council agree to a 'change of use' for a building in the town that will enable SHOC to have a new home.
"It will cost them nothing but the ink in the pen to commit to a 'change of use' for this building - you know how easy it is to do that - councils have to do it every time they turn a local shop into a supermarket chain express store.
"This is the perfect way to ensure that love and community trump selfishness and profit as well as being the perfect wedding present for a cool couple. Let's face it, what else can we give them? They must have enough toasters."
People are cheering on the actor and comedian for starting the initiative, and for raising awareness to the plight of these vulnerable people. Commenting on the petition, Kate Nicholson said: "It would be nice when so much public money will be spent on a wedding to give something to the destitute."
Councillor Simon Dudley. Credit: PA
A letter from Councillor Dudley to Anthony Stansfeld, Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, seen by the Guardian, alleges that some of the homeless people in Windsor are in fact on the streets of their own volition.
He writes: "A large number of adults that are begging in Windsor are not in fact homeless, and if they are homeless they are choosing to reject all support services...In the case of homelessness amongst this group, it is therefore a voluntary choice."
The counsellor also warned that the increasing number of bags belonging to these people posed a security risk at such a high-profile event.
Prime Minister Theresa May has since responded by saying she disagrees with Councillor Dudley's assertions, according to the Sun, saying: "I don't agree with the comments that the leader of the council has made.
"I think it is important that councils work hard to ensure that they are providing accommodation for those people who are homeless. Where there are issues of people who are aggressively begging on the streets then it's important that councils work with the police to deal with that aggressive begging."
Featured Image Credit: PA