'Nimby' Ministers Fight to Protect Their Local Magistrates' Courts

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Byline: Paul Waugh Deputy Political Editor

THE Government was accused of "rank hypocrisy" today after it emerged that Tory and Liberal Democrat ministers are campaigning against spending cuts in their constituencies.

Solictor-general Edward Garnier, international development secretary Andrew Mitchell and business minister Ed Davey are all opposing plans to axe their local magistrates' courts, the Standard has learned.

More than 150 courts across the country face closure as the Ministry of Justice copes with some of the deepest cuts across Whitehall before the October Spending Review.

Yesterday it emerged that the department is to lose [pounds sterling]2 billion of its [pounds sterling]9 billion budget, with the possible loss of up to 15,000 staff.

But ministers are lobbying Justice Secretary Ken Clarke to reverse the cuts planned for their areas, opening them up to charges of "Nimbyism".

The rebel ministers say that closure of their local courts will be bad for justice as their constituents would have to travel miles to neighbouring areas.

Mr Garnier, opposing cuts in his Harborough seat in Leicestershire, said he needed to persuade the Ministry of Justice against the idea.

He told his local constituents: "We have until mid-September to do this and I urge residents of Harborough and the surrounding locality to respond to the consultation. …


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