A homeless man discovered dying outside an entrance to Parliament later died in hospital.
Gyula Remes, a 43-year-old Hungarian national, was initially found by his friend looking “all blue” near a set of revolving doors used by politicians and staff in the House of Commons.
Gabor Kasza said Mr Remes had been drinking that night and had been given a cigarette, which he suspected had been laced with the synthetic drug spice.
British Transport Police (BTP) were called to the entrance used by MPs near Westminster underground station at 11.30pm on Tuesday night. Although officers administered first aid and took Mr Remes to hospital, he died hours later.
“He was drinking, very heavily, and someone gave him some kind of cigarette which he smoked," Mr Kasza said. "He said he was going to lie down and then when I came back a few hours later, he was all blue. We couldn’t resuscitate him. It was definitely spice.”
Mr Kasza added that his fellow Hungarian had recently begun work as a chef’s assistant. He said that Mr Remes was due to receive his first pay cheque “some time this week,” which he had hoped would enable him to get off the streets for good.
“He was drinking heavily because he had just got a job and he was all happy that he wasn’t going to be homeless any more,” the 22-year-old said.
Five bunches of flowers, four cans of beer, six mince pies, a candle and an empty bottle of wine were left in the underpass of exit three at the station.
Labour MP David Lammy tweeted: “There is something rotten in Westminster when MPs walk past dying homeless people on their way to work.”
Mr Kasza is the second homeless person to have died outside Parliament this year. In February a rough sleeper from Brazil, Marcos Amaral Gourgel, was discovered dead just metres from an entrance to the House of Commons.
His death caused widespread outrage, with some claiming MPs were ignoring the growing problem of street homelessness on their doorstep.
“We should all be ashamed that Westminster – a world heritage site – is also a place homeless people are forced to try to stay warm,” said Labour MP Neil Coyle at the time.
Jeremy Corbyn led the tributes to Mr Gourgel, leaving a card with the handwritten message: “This should never have happened. As a country we must stop walking by.”
Figures released in October showed that rough sleeping has hit a record high in London, with 3,103 people found on the streets of the capital between July and September last year, according the Combined Homelessness and Information Network.
A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said: “At around 11.30pm on 18 December, we were alerted by officers from British Transport Police to a man collapsed in an underpass near to Westminster underground station. First aid was administered by the BTP officers and the man was taken to a central London hospital, where he died in the early hours of 19 December. The death is not being treated as suspicious.”
Additional reporting by Press Association
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