Following legislation that came into force last year that criminalised squatting in residential premises, Mike Weatherley, the Conservative Member of Parliament for Hove and Portslade, has raised the problem of squatting in non-residential properties in the House of Commons.
In an oral question session in the House of Commons last week, Mike raised the continuing problem of squatters now occupying commercial properties with the Ministry of Justice. In response, the Rt Hon Damian Green MP, Minister of State for Policing & Criminal Justice, assured Mike that the Department was actively monitoring the situation and is compiling evidence of the effectiveness of the new law in combating squatting.
Mike has been campaigning for squatting to be criminalised since his election to Parliament in 2010 and has been supported by the Prime Minister. Squatting is a huge problem in Brighton & Hove, with numerous instances of this organised and frequently menacing behaviour blighting the lives of ordinary people. Irate squatters have dubbed the new law “Weatherley’s Law” following Mike’s campaign to introduce the new legislation. Mike is now campaigning for the law to be extended to commercial properties.
Commenting, Mike said: “I was pleased to learn from my colleague Damian Green that the Ministry of Justice is collecting evidence of squatting in commercial property as the Department believes that squatting, in all forms, is a damaging offence. I will be providing the Minister of Justice with specific examples from my constituency and around the country that highlight the ongoing problems that squatters are causing.”