Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has urged residents to be on their guard over the weekend as squatters from around the country descend on Brighton & Hove.
The Squatters Network of Brighton (SNOB) has called on hundreds of squatters from around the country to come to Brighton & Hove to protest against the criminalisation of squatting. The protest will start at 2pm on 13th October at Victoria Gardens before moving into Hove. Residents are urged to be on the look-out for any vandalism, graffiti, breaking and entering, theft or arson that takes place over the course of the weekend as squatters spread out across the city.
Brighton & Hove has become the chief destination for squatters since the Green Party took control of Brighton & Hove and dubbed it a ‘City of Protest’. Caroline Lucas, Green Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion, made it clear that protesters would be welcomed with open arms. To add insult to injury, attendees of the Green Party conference in Bristol just last month voted in favour of a motion which condemned the criminalisation of squatting.
Since being elected in 2010, Mike has campaigned for the criminalisation of squatting after dozens of cases of distressed constituents who have had their homes taken over by squatters were brought to his attention. Squatting was previously a civil offence in England and Wales, and a criminal offence in Scotland. Following Mike’s efforts, squatting in residential properties became a criminal offence in England and Wales on 1st September 2012. The new law has been dubbed “Weatherley’s Law” by squatters who have called Mike the “architect of the squatban”.
Commenting, Mike said: “Residents and businesses should be on guard over the weekend for any break-ins and criminal acts. These people have no respect for other people’s property and exhibit utter contempt for our laws and, indeed, society generally. Dozens of squatters from around the country are coming our way and will stop at nothing to put their point across.”
Mike added: “I am proud of my achievement in changing the law on squatting as I know that I have the support of thousands of my Hove and Portslade constituents. These self-styled anarchists, who don’t seem to know what they are actually angry about, want to squat in other people’s homes – I do not shirk from standing up to them as it is just plain wrong. Please be vigilant for squatters this weekend.”