Hartlepool MP demands urgent talks over plans to close town’s courts

Hartlepool's Labour MP Iain Wright.
Hartlepool's Labour MP Iain Wright.

The town’s MP has called for urgent talks over the proposed closure of the magistrates’ court.

Iain Wright, MP for Hartlepool, brought up the matter in the House of Commons yesterday, saying justice will be lost to millions of people including the people of Hartlepool.

It was announced in the summer that Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court is being recommended for closure by the Government as part of a reform of the courts and tribunal service.

The Ministry of Justice is consulting on its plans to close 91 courts and tribunals in England and Wales, including Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court and County Court.

However, the consultation period ends on October 8 and Mr Wright says the issue has not been discussed.

He has now joined forces with MPs for Bath, Ben Howlett, and Burton, Andrew Griffiths, to secure a debate on the closure of courts next week.

Mr Wright said: “Some 23% of magistrates’ courtrooms are earmarked for closure, including Hartlepool Magistrates’ Court.

“With the single brief exception of justice questions on Tuesday, the House has not had an opportunity to raise this matter and the consultation period will close before the House returns in October.

“The Leader of the House, a former Justice Secretary, knows how many times this has been raised.

“Will he arrange an urgent debate so that we can discuss how local justice is being lost for millions of people, including my constituents?”

Chris Grayling, Leader of the House of Commons, said the issue could be debated next week.