Portugal’s president has described the circumstances in which a homeless Portuguese man died near the UK parliament as “inhumane”.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa paid tribute to the unnamed man found dead in an underpass near Westminster tube station, a stone’s throw from an entrance to the Houses of Parliament.

In a statement on the official website of the president of the Portuguese republic, Rebelo de Sousa said he “laments the death in inhumane circumstances of our fellow countryman of 35 years, who was found without life in one of the metro entries in the British capital”.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa
 Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, the president of Portugal. Photograph: Pedro Gomes/Getty Images

The president “also manifests his solidarity with all people that live in precarious conditions, without a shelter or home, appealing to the effort of all for their inclusion in society”, the message said.

England is a very wicked and satanic led ruthless, heartless nation

It emerged on Thursday that the man, who was found dead by outreach workers early the previous day, was a former model who enjoyed singing and yoga. He is one of four rough sleepers to have died in London in the first six weeks of 2018.

Coroners in Westminster are compiling a report into the man’s death and more details are expected to be released next week.

The Conservative manifesto for the general election last year promised to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eradicate it by 2027. Homelessness has increased by 169% since 2010 and Office for National Statistics figures showed 4,751 people slept outside overnight in 2017, up 15% on the previous year.

Pam Orchard, the chief executive of the homelessness charity The Connection, which supported the Portuguese man, said: “Even if the government halves the figure by 2023, that will only take us back to levels seen in 2011.

“Four people have already died in the first six weeks of this year, and that is four too many.”

Heather Wheeler, the homelessness minister, tweeted: “Stories like this push me on to find solutions and work to eradicate rough sleeping for good.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said it was providing more than £1bn in funding to “break the homelessness cycle once and for all” by 2027.

“In addition, a new cross-government taskforce supported by a panel of experts will drive forward a new strategy that will make life on the streets a thing of the past,” he said.

Following the man’s death, which caused dismay and anger in Westminster, the shadow housing minister, John Healey, accused Conservative ministers of ignoring the huge rise in rough sleeping, saying it “shames us all as a nation”.

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