Last Friday, I was refused entry to the Ministry of Justice court in Stoke.
Ministry of Justice (MOJ) managers have refused to allow me into one of their courts in Stoke. No formal reason has been given for this decision. I had been due to visit staff at Bennett House in Stoke to listen to their fears about the closure of the court. Bennett house which houses immigration and tribunal hearings, as well as dealing with divorce proceedings faces closure.
I will be taking this up with the Speaker of the House. It is outrageous that I have not be allowed on site, this would not happen in the private sector, if a factory was being closed I would be granted access to speak to workers there, there is no fitting reason to deny my ability to speak to my constituents at their place of work to listen to their concerns and fears.
MOJ are proposing to close the court despite opposition from users and staff. Law firms, Judges and staff. The very reason that this court (Bennett house) was opened, was to give access to those in Stoke that want to make their case in Stoke. Of course as well as that it provides jobs in an area that needs them following the demise of big industry in the area. Stoke seems to be taking a battering in the loss of public sector jobs, with the future closure of HMRC and DWP sites. Ruth Smeeth MP and I will not merely stand by and allow these jobs to be ‘ripped’ from our community.
I will be working with PCS, the union that represents staff at the court in their campaign to oppose this closure.