“The Secretary of State says, when asked about Travellers, that we want to see fair play within the planning system. However, what we have under the coalition is a manifestly unfair system in which the prejudice and racism of settled communities has been given free rein; where local authorities are being encouraged-and indeed subsidised to the tune of millions of pounds-to kick Travellers off sites they own and develop at their own expense; and where planning for Travellers is under a different and harsher regime than for the rest of the population.

For the past 45 years, I have fought for the rights of Gypsies and Travellers to have places to live like everyone else. I am sorry to say that under this Secretary of State we are back where I began. The spectacle of riot police invading Dale farm to evict residents, including pregnant women, small children and disabled elderly people, was the epitome of our denial of fair play to this most deprived of all communities.”

Lord Avebury 27/10/11