MPs use musical talents in aid of charity’s bid to help the homeless

The band MP4 were formed by Parliamentarians - Kevin Brennan, Sir Greg Knight, Ian Cawsey and Peter Wishart.
The band MP4 were formed by Parliamentarians - Kevin Brennan, Sir Greg Knight, Ian Cawsey and Peter Wishart.
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ROCK ’n’ rolling politicians MP4 have released an EP in support of Musicians Against Homelessness, the grassroots rock movement that raises cash for homelessness charities.

They launched it with a star-studded gig inside the Houses of Parliament.

MP4 are the only band in history to have been granted permission to perform in the State Rooms of the Speaker’s House in the Palace of Westminster.

The EP, entitled ‘MP4 EP5’ featuring five original tracks has been produced by award-winning Robin Millar CBE and was released last week released by Revolver Records.

The lead track Do You See Me? is a poignant and moving plea to passers-by written from the point of view of a rough sleeper.

Stars including Shaun Ryder, Feargal Sharkey and Specials legend Neville Staple are supporting the launch night event, with many big music industry and political big guns confirmed to attend.

The MPs are asking the public to download the EP and donate to Crisis, the national charity for homeless people.

The band said: “When Musicians Against Homelessness approached MP4 to put on a gig in the House Of Commons we knew we had to say yes.

“Not only did we agree to their request, but also we pledged to release a record to highlight the cause.

“Homelessness is a complex issue requiring more political action. But we also know, as a cross-party group of MPs, that to get results we need to keep awareness high.

“That is why we didn’t hesitate to answer the challenge from MAH.”

Musicians Against Homelessness was launched by Emma Rule in 2016, backed by patron Alan McGee, the iconic boss of Creation Records who launched the careers of Oasis and Primal Scream.

The volunteer-led campaign had raised £100,000 by the end of 2017 on behalf of homelessness charities.

It began with small gigs but this year many festivals become official partners introducing MAH stages, mixing big name acts with unsigned talent.

Thousands of bands have taken part in MAH events. Supporters include Irvine Welsh and bands Cast, James, Happy Mondays and Buzzcocks.

MP4 was founded as MP3 in 2004 by SNP MP Pete Wishart on keyboards, former Labour MP Ian Cawsey on bass guitar and vocals and Conservative MP Sir Greg Knight on drums.

They were later joined by Labour MP Kevin Brennan on vocals and guitar.

Sir Greg, MP for East Yorkshire, said: “I believe that just one person without a roof over their head is one too many. There is more that can be done to help homeless people and rough sleepers get their lives back on track, so along with Musicians Against Homelessness and Crisis I am glad to be part of this effort to raise a wider awareness of the issue.”

Ian Cawsey, former Labour MP for Brigg and Goole, said: “Homelessness isn’t an inevitable part of society but it is something we can all help to make a difference on. It’s too easy to walk on by and we are all sometimes guilty of that in our busy lives.

“The MP4 EP is to raise awareness of this issues, to get more people working together to help homeless people get back on their feet and to stop more people becoming victims of it.”

Jon Sparkes, chief executive of Crisis, said: “We’re very excited MP4 has chosen to release a single for Musicians Against Homelessness which has done so much to support Crisis.

“It’s fantastic to see politicians from across the political spectrum come together to highlight the cause of Crisis’s work – supporting homeless people and campaigning to end homelessness for good.

“The work MAH has done since the project began has been truly inspirational, raising vital funds that have helped us hugely. We’re incredibly grateful for MP4’s support, as well as the volunteers, musicians and bands, who have dedicated their time to the cause.

“We know we can end homelessness in our country. If we continually shine a light on this issue and stand together, we can end it for good – because everyone deserves to have a place to call home.”

MAH patron Alan McGee said: “Britain rocked against the menace of racism in the 70s, now British bands are rocking against a modern scandal – homelessness. We won’t stop until it is eradicated.”

To download the single visit https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/ep5-ep/1437175255

To donate to Crisis visit www.crisis.org.uk