The Protection of Freedoms Bill is radical only in its moderation and extreme only in its conservatism. Nevertheless, it has been and remains a privilege to serve on the Bill Committee, for which you can find Hansard here.
I have made a number of contributions but I think I most enjoyed saying this:
Steve Baker: Following the exchange of interventions, which I very much enjoyed, and reflecting on the amendment, I am aware of a principle that comes out, which I think could be more deeply entrenched in the Bill. If we were to look for a principle and express it in one word, for me that word would be “property.” The amendment is quite insightful—although of course I will not be supporting it—by bringing together the questions of bailiffs and squatters. The hon. Member for Gedling has hit the nail on the head. The issue in talking about freedom is often property. However, we would struggle to be consistent about the application of property rights. Without wishing to stray out of order, Mr Caton, if we were to apply property rights to, for example, wheel clamping, we might have found ourselves obliged to continue allowing clamping on private property, which is not something that any of our constituents seem to want, unless they suffer from the problem of rogue drivers.
Returning to the amendment, I think the hon. Gentleman has proposed an insightful amendment. The principle that he is searching for, on which all freedom could be hung, is the concept of property, and I would invite the Government to consider that concept throughout the Bill.
I enjoyed slipping into using “commisars” too of course. The Bill Committee continues…