East Lothian Labour Party representatives have slammed SNP South of Scotland list MSPs for failing to stand up for Haddington Sheriff & JP Courts at last week’s Labour Opposition access to justice debate in the Scottish Parliament.
All four SNP list MSPs – Chic Brodie, Aileen McLeod, Joan McAlpine and Paul Wheelhouse – voted to support their party’s plans to close Haddington and other courts, despite the East Lothian public’s overwhelming opposition to the closure plans. Midlothian North and Musselburgh MSP Colin Beattie also backed his party in last Wednesday’s vote.
Iain Gray MSP said:
“I had hoped that some of the SNP list MSPs would listen to the strength of feeling expressed by the public in East Lothian on this issue and join me in speaking in support of our court in Haddington.
“Sadly, none of them seemed to be prepared to stand up for East Lothian’s interests. Instead, they all chose to back their party's plans to bring an end to hundreds of years of locally delivered justice in the county, and voted to close Haddington’s court.
“I will continue to fight the SNP’s closure plans as long as there is a chance of stopping them, and urge all SNP MSPs to rethink their stance before it’s too late to save our court.”
Cllr Willie Innes, Labour Leader of East Lothian Council, said:
“It was very disappointing that all the SNP’s list MSPs decided to put their party’s interests before that of local justice here in East Lothian. Some of them had made supportive noises about the court, but when the crunch came they voted to axe it.
“This is a disgrace and must be very embarrassing for the council’s SNP group, which had at least stated its opposition to closing the court. I hope they will now lobby their parliamentary colleagues and encourage them to change their minds and stand up for our court.”