Tories would block illegal camps
A Conservative government would review human rights legislation to stop it being abused to set up illegal Gypsy encampments, Michael Howard said yesterday.
Following a 50 per cent rise in two years in the number of unlawful camps and a spate of media reports of "blighted" communities, the Tory leader set out plans to block the travellers' camps.
Mr Howard said most travellers were law-abiding people who lived in harmony with their communities. But he added: "There are some who are not. They are wilfully abusing the system and causing huge disruption to their neighbours."
He said a Tory administration would overhaul the Human Rights Act to stop it being used to block illegal encampments.
He would give councils new powers to seize and remove illegally sited caravans, and the right to purchase land compulsorily if a stop notice was breached. Government quotas requiring local authorities to set aside land would be scrapped.
Police would also be given new guidance encouraging them to use their powers to deal with trespass by Gypsies.
Speaking near a legal travellers' site, near St Austell in Cornwall, he pledged to ensure planning laws were "enforced consistently". He said: "People in Britain have an inherent sense of fair play. Fairness matters. It is the basis of our society. There shouldn't be one rule for some and another for others. That is why people feel a sense of outrage when they see that there is one planning law for people wanting to build their dream home ... and another for travellers moving into the area."
Keith Hill, the Housing minister, said: "Michael Howard has a cheek to highlight the lack of suitable legal sites for Gypsies. It was the Tories in 1994, when he was Home Secretary, who abolished the long-standing duty on local authorities to provide Gypsy sites."
* Hugo Swire, MP for East Devon, has been appointed shadow arts minister following the sacking of Boris Johnson for allegedly misleading Mr Howard over an affair with the columnist Petronella Wyatt.
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Bill Cosby: Isn’t it obvious why his accusers have stayed silent up until now?
- 5 Jeremy Hunt: 'I took my children to A&E because I didn't want to wait for GP appointment'
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Sarah Vine on Jack Monroe being a lesbian mother: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
Michael Brown shooting: Ten things we know – or know better – now the Ferguson grand jury's work is over
Ferguson riots: The most powerful images to emerge from protests over Michael Brown killing
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Exclusive: UK approved £7m Israeli arms sales in six months before Gaza conflict
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...
£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...
£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...