The Secretary of State for Justice, the Rt Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP, has today announced that squatting will be criminalised in a keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference after praising the work of Mike Weatherley, Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade.
Kenneth Clarke said:
“I believe that at its heart our British justice system is still one of the best in the world despite all Labour’s efforts…when people think of Britain, they think of British justice. That is why so much of my last year has been spent returning common sense and proportion to a system which was badly let down by Labour…
We have policies under way to
• Resolve public doubts on the law of self defence by victims of crime
• Criminalise squatting
• Make community sentences more punitive and more effective
• Bring competition into the management of prisons
• Speed up the process of the courts and make them more witness, litigant and victim friendly
• Curtail the compensation culture and cut excessive spending on Legal Aid
• Scrap referral fees to end the culture of those ambulance-chasing claims advisors.”
Mike has been calling on the Government to criminalise squatting since being elected to Parliament in 2010. He has held a debate in the House of Commons on the matter and has laid down a number of Parliamentary Questions. He has contacted Ministers and called on colleagues to sign an Early Day Motion on the subject.
In June this year, Kenneth Clarke said: “I am grateful to colleagues like Mike Weatherley who has tirelessly brought cases of squatting from his Hove constituency to my attention. We will be consulting on changes which should reduce the heartache that property owners face when discovering that squatters are in occupation.”
Commenting on the announcement, Mike said: “We are making real progress in what has been a long fight. The current situation is that a property owner who returns to find their house or flat illegally occupied has to spend lots of time and money on getting it back. They would then have to redecorate a damaged interior which would need to be repaired at further expense. Justice is coming.”