Barnsley Central’s Labour MP, Dan Jarvis, has today questioned the Government's reforms to legal aid.
Jarvis explained, “Over the course of the last twelve months, I have received dozens of emails and letters from people across Barnsley Central who are deeply concerned about the Government’s reforms to legal aid.
“As I said in the Chamber today, legal aid is a safety net which should be guaranteed for whomever, whenever. Of course, it is usually the case that legal aid is used to protect the most vulnerable in society – women who are the victims of domestic violence, for instance.
“Despite Ken Clarke’s recent suggestion that his safeguards are “formidable”, the reality is, the safeguards do not apply to women who visit domestic violence centres in local communities, but instead only apply to women who seek refuge from violent partners.
“As a result of these reforms, Mumsnet predicts that tens of thousands of women will not be able to walk away from abusive partners in Britain and Labour’s analysis suggests that over 50% of women, who would have had access to legal aid prior to this reform, now won’t be in receipt of it.
“Essentially what the Government has done by taking away that safety net is taken a massive risk with the safety of the most vulnerable in society.
“I don’t think that was acceptable which is why I voted strongly against the reforms to legal aid and why I will continue to keep the pressure on the Government over this fraught piece of legislation.”