Picked your jaw up from the floor yet? No, me neither. The image of the week has to be rebel Tory MP Phillip Lee crossing the floor to take his seat on the opposition benches as PM Boris Johnson addressed the House of Commons.

Liz Hamson leader

In his damning resignation letter, the newly minted Lib Dem warned that the Conservative party had become “infected with the twin diseases of populism and English nationalism” – which, whatever political hue you are, should have sent shivers down the spine. So what now, as the political farce descends into full-blown anarchy?

Keeping calm and carrying on is easier said than done, especially when you consider the negative impact the protracted Brexit negotiations have already had on the property industry. In new research produced by CMS and shown exclusively to Property Week, 73% of the real estate professionals surveyed said that Brexit had had a negative effect on their organisation, compared with 64% last year and 69% the year before.

If they were asked the same question now, my guess is the percentage of people who feel negatively would be even higher. Ditto the number who feel pessimistic about the property market’s short-term prospects.

There might be more cause for optimism if we had the faintest clue about what is going to happen politically. But in the ongoing absence of anything resembling clarity, the industry could at least have a stab at aligning what it builds with what the market actually wants. The same CMS report – Urban Being – compares the general public’s attitude towards housing with the industry’s and exposes a worrying gap between what people say they want and what the industry thinks they want. It turns out that ‘Generation Rent’ is not as keen on renting as some would have us believe.

The findings will no doubt be hotly debated at the RESI Convention next week, as will our Hot Housing Index 2019, which reveals the best places to buy in the UK. Suffice to say, housebuilders are on to a winner if they own a lot of housing in Scotland – Scottish cities occupy the top three spots. Given the country’s stance on Brexit and remoteness from the chaos of Westminster, I know where I’d rather be right now…

The Pro Bono Challenge

I am delighted to announce that Property Week is joining forces with Newcore Capital to launch The Pro Bono Challenge at RESI. Social impact has never been higher on the property agenda. Yet the general public continues to think – sometimes with good reason – that the property industry is only in it for the money and has no interest in being a force for good. This is your opportunity to show people they are wrong.

We will be asking you to share with us details of the pro bono property projects you are currently undertaking. Once we have collated your responses, we will publish the findings and present what we believe is the first real insight into the scale of pro bono work currently being undertaken by the industry. Then comes the hard part: we will be calling on you to commit to at least one new pro bono project. So come on developers, come on investors, show us what you’re made of and take The Pro Bono Challenge now.