Today was the last opportunity for me to speak in the House of Commons before the election and I used this special moment to call for an end to the practice of advertising rent-free accommodation via websites like Craigslist in return for sex.
I discovered this was happening by working with an incredible team of investigatory journalists at BBC Southeast. It has brought to light many cases where men are explicitly advertising free accommodation in return for sex. I have looked into the legality of this and it seems that no existing law can be used to end this practice, so today I became the first MP to raise the issue in the Commons where I challenged the Justice Secretary over it.
I am totally over-the-moon that she has agreed to look into this and agreed with my call for a review into whether legislation needs to be altered or introduced.
We live in a city with two universities and a housing crises. These are the terrible circumstances where a reprehensible few can exploit young people made vulnerable by the need to live in expensive places with a lack of housing supply. Thanks to web innovation we have new opportunities but also new hazards and the law must keep up.
I’m so sad that I cannot progress this using parliament until after the election. It has made me even more determined to fight this election with every ounce of my energy so that I will have the privilege of returning here to the Commons to finish the job. I got the law changed to protect abuse victims in court, I know I’ve got what it takes to do this too.
So if you know anyone with kids who lives in Hove, share this and tell them why they need me here in parliament making sure we have laws that are up to date and protect the young and vulnerable in our fast-changing world.