Local Labour politicians have reacted angrily after it was revealed that SNP Group leader Cllr Stuart Currie failed to sign a cross-party letter calling on Justice Secretary Michael Matheson to rethink the closure of Haddington Court, despite having agreed to do so at the last full meeting of the Council.
While the court has now closed, Labour believes that Cllr Currie’s failure to stand up for the court and local justice shows once again how hollow his professed opposition to the closure really was and how unwilling he and his local colleagues were to stand up to their party bosses in Edinburgh.
Speaking after the news was revealed at today’s Council meeting, Labour leader of the Council, Cllr Willie Innes said:
“The SNP group’s opposition to closing Haddington’s court has always been suspect and they have been reluctant do anything to defend it. So Cllr Currie’s refusal to sign a cross-party letter calling on Michael Matheson to reconsider the decision comes as little surprise, albeit that he had said he would do it.
“It simply reaffirms the SNP’s inability to stand up for East Lothian and our local communities. Time and time again they have gone along with decisions made by their leadership in Edinburgh that will harm the county. At least the East Lothian public can now be left in no doubt that it is the SNP who are responsible for closing our court.”
Labour MSP Iain Gray said:
“While it is hugely disappointing that the local SNP leader did not back the Council’s call for a last minute rethink, it is in line with the reaction of other SNP politicians. The SNP Justice Secretary agreed the closure plans with the court service, and SNP MSPs at Holyrood rubber-stamped the decision.
“Local people of various political views and none have backed the campaign to save our court over the last couple of years. I’m sure they will share my disappointment at the SNP’s failure to rethink their damaging drive towards the centralisation of services and to reverse the closure of our court.”
Fiona O’Donnell MP said:
“The SNP claim they will stand up for Scotland’s interests at Westminster, but they cannot even stand up for local people’s interests here in East Lothian. They are trying to run a General Election campaign with two SNP parties. One which takes decisions to shut down access to justice in East Lothian and another which for the purposes of the General Election campaign tries to distance itself from what the SNP are doing to our county. They will be held to account for their actions and their false statements and promises.”