County MP continues fight for Ammanford Court
Fri. January 21, 2011
Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards has this week become a lead sponsor of a Parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM) which notes MPs astonishment at the UK Government’s decision to close a total of 142 courts throughout the UK.
An EDM is notice of a motion given by a Member of Parliament for which no date has been fixed for debate. EDMs exist to allow MPs to put on record their opinion on a subject and canvass support from fellow MPs. In effect, the primary function of an EDM is to form a petition amongst MPs.
EDM 1234, tabled by the Leader of Plaid Cymru’s Westminster Group Elfyn Llwyd MP, and sponsored by Mr. Edwards, calls on the UK Government to reconsider the decision on the proposed closures which will have a devastating impact on the provision of local justice.
Jonathan Edwards said:
“Having led the campaign against the closure of Ammanford Court with my constituency colleague Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM, and having made a catalogue of representations on the issue, I had no hesitation in sponsoring this EDM.
“There has been widespread disapproval amongst MPs from all political parties who have been shocked that the Conservative-Lib Dem Government has ploughed ahead with its decision to close Courts based on a flawed consultation.
“I have recently received a letter from the Under-Secretary of State for Justice noting the UK Government’s decision to close 142 court houses will generate £38.5million from the sale of the buildings. This is proof enough that these decisions are financially motivated, and begs the question whether the representations I and others made were ever going to be taken into consideration.
“The UK Government, intent on rushing to the House of Commons with policy announcements, has made a number of embarrassing U-turns when it becomes clear their ideas are not fair and/or practical. I hope this EDM will gain enough support from MPs and be yet another example of the Government having to reconsider their decisions, and ultimately reconsider the closure of Ammanford Magistrates’ Court”.
Constituency Colleague Rhodri Glyn Thomas AM added:
“I’m sure that everyone in Carmarthenshire will be pleased to see Plaid Cymru once again standing up for the people of Wales against the UK Government’s cuts agenda.
“We know the Ministry of Justice inflated the maintenance bill backlog for the courts in Wales by well over 100 per cent; initially quoting £3.2million in June and then after questioning lowered it to £1.15million last month.
“I do not accept that Ammanford Magistrates’ Court is surplus to requirements and made this clear to the UK Government in my consultation response.
“It’s easy for Plaid and Labour to constantly whinge about the Tory cuts, and would be easy for me as an elected member to simply continue blaming the Tories for everything. But in Jonathan and Plaid we have real community champions continuing to put our constituent’s interests first; and in this case putting pressure on the UK Government to reconsider the clueless decision to close Ammanford Court”.
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