Earlier this week, we looked at the reaction of local MPs and Councillors to the possible closure of Magistrates Courts in Skipton and Keighley and also the County Court in Keighley.
If the government`s plans go ahead, then in total 103 Magistrates Courts and 54 County Courts will close. Undoubtedly, the government will be monitoring public reaction to the cuts to test the mood of the nation in respect of cuts generally.
In Keighley and Skipton, as we`ve seen, three MPs and numerous Councillors - all of them Conservatives - have backed the Keighley News `What Price Justice` campaign. In other areas, the reaction has been very similar, except in that opposition to the Court closures has united MPs and Councillors regardless of party affiliation.
In Melton, Councillors Matthew O`Callaghan (Labour) and Joe Orson JP (Conservative), Alan Duncan MP (Conservative) and Council leader Roger Begy (Independent) are all opposed to the closure of the Magistrates Court. Both O` Callaghan and Begy have also expressed concerns about the future of the area`s County Court. Magistrates opposed to the proposed closure in Melton plan to leaflet shoppers attending local markets in neighbouring towns to rally opposition.
In Market Harborough, local paper the Harborough Mail ( http://www.harboroughmail.co.uk/ ) has launched what it calls "a vigorous campaign to safeguard the principles of local justice", backed by Solicitor General Edward Garnier QC MP (Conservative) and Councillors from both the Liberal Democrat and the Conservative parties. An article by that newspaper`s Alex Blackwell ( `Save our Court` Plea Gets Backing ) quoted local Magistrates, Court staff and solicitors in support of the campaign.
Councillor John Legrys (Labour) is among those campaigning against the closure of Coalville Magistrates Court.
The Harborough Mail article cited above is very informative. Additionally, many useful articles on the subject have appeaed at http://www.thisisleicestershire.co.uk/ .