VICTORIA PRENTIS MP MAKES CONTRIBUTION TO LAND REGISTRY DEBATE

On 30 June 2016, Victoria Prentis MP made an intervention in a debate on the future of the Land Registry. She emphasised its importance and made reference to the chaos caused by the lack of a proper registry in the former East Germany.

The following account is taken from the official House of Commons Hansard for 30 June 2016:

Mr Bernard Jenkin (Harwich and North Essex) (Con): I will be as brief as I can, speaking in this debate as the Chair of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee—the successor to the Public Administration Select Committee, which considered the question of open data in the previous Parliament and produced a report on the matter.

What is the Land Registry? It is a part of our critical national infrastructure. It is an absolutely fundamental function of any civilised state. It is how disputes are resolved. In the most war-torn parts of the world, there is a land registry in every country—even for every town. It has been in the lexicon of military doctrine since the days of empire that when a town is taken, the land registry is taken first so that the disputes that arise between different factions and families after control has been taken can be resolved. The first building that the Black Watch took in Basra when the British Army went into southern Iraq was the land registry. That is how fundamental a land registry is to any civilised state.

Victoria Prentis (Banbury) (Con): My hon. Friend and I share different views on the European Union, but I wonder whether he remembers the chaos that ensued when the former East Germany was unified with West Germany. There was no proper land registry for East Germany, making it difficult to ascertain who owned many houses in places such as Potsdam.