Joe Lycett thanks ‘callous and cruel’ Suella Braverman for helping him raise money for homeless charity

Suella Braverman pictured on the left. Joe Lycett pictured on the right.

Comedian Joe Lycett has raised more than £50,000 for homelessness charity Crisis, after he ripped into Suella Braverman for calling rough sleeping a “lifestyle choice”. 

On Saturday (4 November), Lycett – well-known for trolling Tory policies – issued a takedown of Braverman’s claims that homeless people, “many of them from abroad”, are “living on the streets as a lifestyle choice”. 

In a thread posted on X, previously known as Twitter, the controversial home secretary said British cities would become like “San Francisco and Los Angeles” where there will be an “an explosion of crime, drug taking and squalor”, if action was not taken. 

“What I want to stop, and what the law-abiding majority wants us to stop, is those who cause nuisance and distress to other people by pitching tents in public spaces, aggressively begging, stealing, taking drugs, littering and blighting our communities,” she went on to say. 

In his own social media post, Joe Lycett shared an image of a bowl of potpourri and sarcastically wrote that when his “old friend” Braverman described rough sleeping as a “lifestyle choice”, he always “thought lifestyle choices were things such as cargo pants, fishing, and decorating your bathroom with a bowl of potpourri”. 

Alongside a donation link, the funnyman added: “I want to see if this image I found on Google, described as Wooden Botanical Fragrant Potpourri Bowl with Lemon, can raise £50,000 for homelessness charity Crisis.”

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As of Tuesday morning (7 November), more than £57,000 has been pledged, prompting Lycett to thank everyone for their generosity. 

“Of course, my main thanks must go to Suella: without your lifestyle choice, of being callous and cruel towards the most vulnerable people in society, none of this would have happened,” he said. 

“There’s another choice coming to all of us fairly soon. It’s known as an election. Best of luck with it, babe.” 

In response to the figure raised, Crisis chief executive Matt Downie said in a statement to PinkNews: “We’re so grateful to Joe for his continued support for Crisis, and to the many thousands of people who have donated. We’ve been overwhelmed by the response.   

“Joe, like many of us, knows that rough sleeping is not a lifestyle choice. It’s the consequence of policy choices, a failure to build the genuinely affordable social homes we so desperately need and a lack of investment in mental health services.  

“The money raised will help us to continue supporting thousands of people experiencing the hardship and isolation of homelessness through our frontline services across Britain. It will also help us campaign vocally for the changes needed so that no-one is forced to sleep on the streets.” 

Fellow comedians also took the opportunity to register their disgust at Braverman’s words.

Dara Ó Briain said: “We could get angry at Suella’s latest piece of performative, pandering cruelty or… instead: let’s promote the excellent work done by Shelter, Centrepoint, The Passage and other fine charities actually trying to help homeless people, especially now, as winter approaches.” 

Frankie Boyle, who is known for his dark sense of humour, wrote: “I fink a lot of these homeless are ‘from abroad’ – the actual home secretary, not some demented b******d you overhear on a bus.”

Braverman’s comments also attracted scathing criticism from charities and organisations who work directly with people experiencing homelessness. 

In a statement at the time on its social media account, Crisis said: “Sleeping on the streets is not a lifestyle choice. We don’t have nearly enough affordable homes, rents are soaring and this is leaving people destitute and forced to sleep rough.

“This is a consequence of poverty. And poverty in this country has been exacerbated by policy choices.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Shelter said: “Let’s make it clear, living on the streets is not a ‘lifestyle choice’. It is a sign of failed government policy. No one should be punished for being homeless. 

“Criminalising people for sleeping in tents, and making it an offence for charities to help them, is unacceptable.” 

The London Renters Union also weighed in, saying: “Blaming homeless people for a crisis this government created is a new low. The only ‘choice’ being made with regards to homelessness is the political choice to put private profit above our human right to housing.”