Justice Minister Shailesh Vara, failed to accept an invitation by Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson to visit staff and facilities at Sunderland Magistrates Court as part of her campaign for a new centre for justice.
At Justice Questions, the constituency MP asked the Minister for Courts to visit and see for himself the case for a new court.
Bridget Phillipson: Last November, I and my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland Central (Julie Elliott) met the Minister to press the case for the much-promised rebuilding of Sunderland’s court complex, but unfortunately, since then, nothing has happened. Will he now join us, visit Sunderland and see the state of the existing court buildings and the impact these new courts could have in the regeneration of the city centre?
Mr Vara: The hon. Lady is right to refer to our meeting about this matter and will be aware that in March we announced a court reform programme to ensure that the courts and tribunals of this country met the expectations of the public in the 21st century. Any decisions about the site in Farringdon row in Sunderland will be taken in the context of that reform programme. Currently, no decisions have been taken about the site.
Construction of a new £2.6 million court was put on hold by the Conservative-led government in 2010. Bridget has been campaigning with Sunderland Labour colleague Julie Elliott MP for a new court ever since.
Commenting after the debate, Bridget Phillipson MP said:
"It’s disappointing that the minister did not accept my invitation to see for himself the condition of the existing court.
"The current facilities have served their purpose, but were built for the needs of a previous century. We need new facilities fit for victims of crime and those working to bring perpetrators to justice."
The Wearside MP said: “Governments are temporary but the result of Thursday’s referendum vote will be permanent and irreversible. I don’t want to wake up on Friday to find that over 300 years of shared history, trade and industrial heritage has been permanently shattered with an international border separating the North east and Scotland. More unites than divides us and I believe that the North east is better with Scotland, and Scotland is stronger as part of the Union.”
Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson has visited Scotland in recent weeks to campaign for a ‘no’ vote in the referendum vote.
Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson and Labour colleagues have voted to enshrine in law spending on international development of at least 0.7% Gross National Product, which will help secure funding to lift millions of people in the developing world out of poverty.
Around the world, the UK is recognised as a world leader on international development. That is due to the actions that Labour took in government. From establishing the Department for International Development and untying our aid so that it was no longer bound by commercial interest, to tripling the aid budget and committing to meeting the historic 0.7% aid target by 2013, Labour’s leadership literally saved lives.
It was a Labour government that put this country on the road to fulfilling the historic commitment. It was Labour's pledge to legislate that forced the other two main parties to follow suit, and it is Labour that has continually criticised this government’s failure to do so.
Commenting after the vote, Bridget said:
“This Bill continues with the work pioneered by Labour from 1997 and enshrines in law our commitment to helping some of the world’s poorest people out of poverty.
“Many of our domestic problems can be traced back to international issues – disease, poverty and wars halfway around the world have a direct impact to the security and stability of our nation.
“Through our support of International Development we can tackle these challenges, in partnership with the developing world, that would otherwise have been left unchecked and unchallenged.”
Houghton and Sunderland South MP, Bridget Phillipson and Labour colleagues have voted to enshrine in law spending on international development of at least 0.7% Gross National Product, which will help...