The Leasehold Knowledge Partnership was presented with a prestigious award by the All Party Parliamentary Group for leasehold and commonhold reform, which represents 171 MPs.
Former housing minister Gavin Barwell, the current chief of staff of Number 10, was to have presented the award to Sebastian O’Kelly, LKP chief executive, and to Martin Boyd, the chairman, but was called abroad.
“I was delighted to be invited to present an award to Leasehold Knowledge Partnership for their work on raising the issues on leasehold, supporting individual leaseholders and acting as Secretariat to the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Leasehold and Commonhold Reform. I am sorry that travel overseas prevents me from being with you today.
“I am proud of my work when I was Housing Minister, along with the then Secretary of State Sajid Javid, to stamp out unfair, unjust and unacceptable abuse of the leasehold system and delighted the current Secretary of State James Brokenshire has carried forward that work.
“We have made important progress, but there is much still to do and I know that LKP will continue to play a key role in what is to come.”
A party was held to celebrate the occasion at the river terrace of the House of Commons organised by Katherine O’Riordan, senior parliamentary aide to Sir Peter, with guests who included leaseholders, leasehold campaigners, Law Society, developers and trade bodies.
We were also delighted that Sonia McColl OBE, the park home campaigner who had her home stolen after years of abuse, was also able to attend.
John Healey, shadow Communities Secretary, attended as did shadow housing minister Sarah Jones, as well as a host of MPs who have campaigned so effectively on the leasehold scandal.
They included Rosie Cooper, Mike Amesbury and Justin Madders, the Labour MP for Ellesmere Port and Neston, who memorably dubbed the doubling ground rent scandal as “worse than PPI” and said an “Englishman’s home isn’t a castle: it’s a revenue stream for an offshore company”.
“For these he was promptly made deputy chair of the APPG,” Sir Peter Bottomley said in a speech at the event.
The event was attended by numerous leasehold campaigners, including Katie Kendrick, Joanne Darbyshire and Cath Williams, who founded the astonishing National Leasehold Campaign.
Michael Epstein and Louie Burns were also there, and LKP trustees Professor James Driscoll and Dr Dean Buckner.
There were representatives at the event of prime London leasehold sites; LKP accredited managing agents; the Law Society; trade bodies and developers.
Sadly, MHCLG civil servants, who we especially wished to thank, were overwhelmed with toil – perhaps because Lord Best’s report on property management and agents was delivered yesterday as well.
We will have to celebrate with them on another occasion.