Lords debate on defending homes from intrusion

20 October 2011

The House of Lords discussed how far people should be able to go in order to protect themselves, their homes and property from intrusion and assault in a debate on Thursday 20 October. Issues under discussion are expected to include the use of ‘reasonable force’ and making squatting a criminal offence.

Lord Blencathra (Conservative), explaining why he tabled the debate, said:

“People need help to protect both themselves and their homes from intrusion and assault.  Householders should be free to act instinctively, using any force necessary, in order to defend themselves and their property from intruders, without fear of recrimination weeks or months later, when actions in the heat of the moment are judged in courtrooms in the cold light of day.

“I also believe that squatting should be made a criminal offence; what right do people have to simply steal a property from its owners?  If a homeowner returns from holiday to find squatters have moved in whilst they were away, they face at least a six-week wait to get their property back, as well as all the associated paperwork and costs that go along with reclaiming what is already rightfully theirs.

“I hope this debate will encourage the Government to bring forward the publication of their report into how to deal with squatters and to look at getting rid of the concept of reasonable force.”

Other Members who contributed to the debated include:

  • Lord Bach (Labour), opposition spokesperson for justice
  • Lord Thomas of Gresford (Liberal Democrat), QC and former Attorney General and government spokesperson for justice

Lord Selsdon (Conservative), also took part.

Lord McNally (Liberal Democrat) responded on behalf of the government.

Further information

Members of the public can attend House of Lords debates and follow proceedings from the public gallery.

Image: PA

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