A HUNGER strike outside the Scottish Parliament, led by Barrhead activist Sean Clerkin, had to be abandoned after two days due to plummeting temperatures.

Mr Clerkin said the experience illustrated the conditions currently facing homeless people on the streets of Scotland, which he said were “not survivable” for long periods of time.

The fervent campaigner led six others in a protest at Holyrood last week, demanding the government takes immediate action to tackle homelessness.

He submitted a petition calling for a £50million homelessness fund to be ‘front-loaded’ so that £40m is spent this year.

Housing Minister Kevin Stewart has rejected the call but said the government was investing more than £20m in the Housing First model, which is being trialled in Glasgow.

Mr Clerkin and his fellow protesters gathered at the Scottish Parliament with sleeping bags, intending to stay outside for as long as they could without eating, to draw attention to the desperate situation faced by many homeless people.

Among the campaigners were CND peace activist Brian Quail and East Renfrewshire man Jim Devine, who was made homeless in his 60s and slept rough on the streets of Glasgow before finally finding accommodation in Giffnock.

Mr Clerkin said: “We stayed there all day Monday and Tuesday, sleeping out in the street, but it was so cold one of our guys became ill.

“He was insisting on staying if the rest of us were staying, so we decided to end it then.

“I have campaigned a lot for homeless people on behalf of the Scottish Tenants’ Association but it’s the first time I’ve ever tried to emulate what they go through.

“What I learned is there is no way people can survive for any length of time in this weather at this time of year.”

The protest at Holyrood took place in the same week that a Glasgow homeless shelter said it was seeing around one death a month among rough sleepers in the city.

Mr Clerkin said campaigners hoped to speak with the Housing Minister this week, to put their case forward.

He added: “The Conservative government at Westminster is to blame for the homelessness blight across Britain but there is more the Scottish Government could do to alleviate the problem.”