§ 25. Mr. Henry Bellingham (North-West Norfolk) (Con)
When he next expects to meet representatives of the local magistracy to discuss the modernisation of courts in East Anglia. 
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs (Mr. David Lammy)
There are no plans to meet representatives of the local magistracy in East Anglia to discuss the modernisation of courts in East Anglia. That could be arranged, however, if it would prove useful.
§ Mr. Bellingham
I am grateful to the Minister for that helpful reply, as it may well be useful. Does he agree that justice needs to be kept as local as possible to have maximum impact? Does he also agree that young offenders in East Anglia are much more likely to be deterred if they are tried in their local town by local 1264 people? Will he therefore concentrate on modernising existing courts and not close any more magistrates courts anywhere in East Anglia?
§ Mr. Lammy
The hon. Gentleman asked the very same question in September and on three occasions previously. On that occasion, I replied:It is right and proper that magistrates live locally, but it is clear that we cannot have courts in every town." —[Official Report, 9 September 2003; Vol. 410, c. 163.]In the last two years of the previous Conservative Administration, 42 courts were closed. I am pleased that we closed only 11 last year.