Mobile laws

After some horror stories, and harrowing tales of exploitation and bullying by rogue park home owners, the Conservative MP Peter Aldous's Mobile Homes Bill has just had its second reading.

The bill is intended to end some appalling abuses, and, in particular, stop site owners from using a veto on sales of mobile homes on their site to force people to sell to them at knockdown prices - £10 (yes, just a tenner) for a home worth over £100,000 was just one of the examples quoted, and that was far from being a unique case.

An unfamiliarity with the whacky procedures for private members' bills nearly meant Mr Aldous killed his own bill. One of the tactical games played in the Friday sittings for private members' bills is to move a motion that the House sits in private - because if a vote is taken during the debate on a bill, and fewer than 40 MPs take part, the House is not quorate and whatever is before it at the time falls.

Mr Aldous missed his moment and attempted to move the Sit in Private motion after he'd move his bill - but the Deputy Speaker Nigel Evans saved him from himself, and didn't call a division, relying on the number of voices shouting "no".

It was just as well. The abuses on home sales, on service charges, on top-ups to utility bills, the failure to perform repairs, the rampant overcharging for repairs and even routine maintenance and much, much more were rehearsed by a large contingent of MPs who had been fielding complaints about them for years.

Long-standing campaigners like Annette Brooke - hailed as the leading Commons voice on this - Eleanor Laing, Natascha Engel and others were all present to detail their experiences. And their sheer delight was evident throughout two hours of discussion. The bill was the culmination of work by an all-party group, a select committee report and a government consultation, and it was almost an anti-climax when no-one spoke against it, and when the second reading was unopposed.

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