TEN days ago in this space, we suggested that if Boris Johnson really wanted to move away from partygate and turn to the people’s priorities, he should look at “renters’ reform” – an issue that had been in the three previous Queen’s Speeches without ever going any further.

Well, yesterday it did.

Even though Mr Johnson continues to be immersed in demeaning scandal concerning his personal probity, his Government issued a White Paper that aims to bring the private rental housing sector into the 21st Century.

For example, the Decent Homes Standard is to be applied to all privately rented houses. It will be legally binding for landlords to have their homes “free from serious health and safety hazards and in a good state of repair”. This would seem to be a bare minimum that the 11m renters – a fifth of them in unfit houses – deserve, although it is going to be interesting to see how this standard is policed.

There is to be an end to no-fault evictions, in which families are uprooted for no reason with only days’ notice, and an ombudsman is to be created to resolve disputes before they reach court. There doesn’t appear to be, though, a landlords’ registration scheme which sounds like a logical step forward.

However, this White Paper is welcome, and we look forward to seeing it reach the statute book quickly – even if Mr Johnson’s own standards continue to be questioned as all of his attempts to draw a line under his various grubbinesses seem to be futile.