Call for equal access to the courts for everyone (not just Gina Miller)
After all that fuss with anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller going to the Supreme Court to force Parliament to resume sitting, it’s nice to see one MP making good use of the resulting opportunity.
On Monday, that stalwart champion of the underdog Frank Field introduced his Justice (Equality of Access) Bill to the Commons.
He had wanted to call it The Gina Miller (Poor People’s Access to Courts) Bill , but was told by Commons clerks that this wasn’t allowed.
There’s a bit of mischief making here, but also a hugely serious point.
“I want people’s access to justice to be equal to Gina Miller’s,” he said.
“You could not get a starker contrast between poor people waiting to get into benefit appeal tribunals and Gina Miller’s ability to get into court within a week.
“Most welfare benefit appeals are won but it takes 14 to 18 months and in the meantime, how do you feed yourself?
“For the many people who have to face disputes on their own, the system is mightily rigged against them.”
Frank Field is the MP for Birkenhead. He had been a Labour Party member for 60 years before being hounded out by Momentum and horrified by its antisemitism scandal.
He intends to stand at the next election under the Birkenhead Social Justice Party banner.
There's little chance of his bill becoming law, not least because it would require a huge Government spending increase on Legal Aid.
But he says he still plans to use every opportunity to keep it on the Parliamentary agenda to keep highlighting the issue: "I want a debate that really does emphasise to the government that its cuts in legal aid have been deadly for poorer people."
Andrew Penman, Daily Mirror