Welcome to my latest Parliamentary newsletter which gives me the opportunity to wish you a Happy Easter!
Space prevents the newsletter covering all of what I have been doing over the past month. However, hopefully it provides a flavour of some of the local issues I have taken up as well as my actions in Parliament. You’ll find updates on local planning applications, legal aid for families of the victims of the Birmingham Pub Bombings and other issues. As ever, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me on these or any other issues.
Yesterday I led a debate in Parliament calling for legal aid to be granted for the families of the victims of the Birmingham Pub Bombings.
The families are contesting a ruling by the Coroner that suspects cannot be identified during the reopened Inquest into the Birmingham Pub Bombings. They won their case in the High Court. The Coroner has lodged an Appeal as he has every right to do. While the Corner will receive public funding to present his appeal however, the families are being denied Legal Aid to defend the judgement of the High Court.
The issue is a simple one. Why shouldn’t both sides be treated equally?
On Tuesday I will be calling for legal aid to be granted for the families of the victims of the Birmingham Pub Bombings.
For years, families of the victims have already had to overcome many hurdles to get answers about what happened on that fateful day of 21st November 1974. They had to fight for an inquest in the first place and they had to fight to be granted legal aid. They eventually won that battle, but now they have once again been denied legal aid. This time, the issue is a ruling by the Coroner that people suspected of carrying out the Pub Bombings cannot be identified at the Inquest. The families contested that ruling at the High Court and won. The Coroner has responded by taking the case to the Court of Appeal as he has every right to do. Whereas public funds will be available to present the Coroner’s appeal against the High Court’s judgement, however, the families have been told they will have to pay for their own legal representation to defend the judgement.
Today, I was among the MPs from different parties across the House of Commons who argued for Government to intervene over the hostile bid by Melrose for GKN. GKN is one of Britain’s oldest and largest engineering companies making automotive and aerospace components. GKN Aerospace’s Kings Norton plant in my Birmingham Northfield constituency specialises in aircraft windscreens.
I am extremely concerned that the hostile bid that has been put to the shareholders of GKN by Melrose would be bad for the UK’s aerospace and automotive sectors and bad for employees of GKN. In my speech to the House of Commons today, I explained my reasons for taking this view
Birmingham’s nine Labour MPs have today written to the Chief Executive of the Legal Aid Agency calling on him to reverse the Agency’s decision to refuse Legal Aid to the families of 10 of the victims of the Birmingham Pub Bombings at the Court of Appeal.
The families are contesting an appeal by the Coroner, Sir Peter Thornton QC, against a High Court ruling that he should reconsider his decision to prohibit the identification of suspects during the reopened inquest into the Pub Bombings.
Lawyers presenting the Coroner’s case will be publicly funded but, following the Legal Aid Agency’s decision, the families will be denied equivalent funding to present their case.