John Whittingdale debates involving the Ministry of Justice during the 2019 Parliament

Tue 14th January 2020
5 interactions (111 words)

Oral Answers to Questions

John Whittingdale Excerpts
Tuesday 14th January 2020

(1 year, 9 months ago)

Commons Chamber

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Ministry of Justice
Chris Philp Portrait Chris Philp
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14 Jan 2020, 12:10 p.m.

As I said, we are putting 20,000 extra officers into the system and £85 million into the CPS, and we are increasing expenditure on rape centres and ISVAs, although I am sure that in those areas, there is more we can do. There is also a review urgently under way to see what further steps we can take, but I believe that the actions that I have outlined, which are taking place as we speak, will move us back in a happier direction.

John Whittingdale Portrait Mr John Whittingdale (Maldon) (Con)
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10. What recent estimate he has made of the proportion of court proceedings covered by court reporters. [900160]

Chris Philp Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Chris Philp)
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14 Jan 2020, 12:10 p.m.

We at the Ministry of Justice do not track or hold data on the number of reporters who report on court proceedings, but I am sad to say that anecdotal evidence suggests that in line with the general decline in local reporting, the reporting of local courts will have declined as well. When my right hon. Friend was Secretary of State at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, he was instrumental in making sure, at the BBC’s charter renewal, that the local democracy reporting scheme provided £8 million a year to get local reporters into the courts. I congratulate him on that step and hope that there is more we can do along those lines in future.

John Whittingdale Portrait Mr Whittingdale
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I thank my hon. Friend, and I thank the Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, my hon. and learned Friend the Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Lucy Frazer), for the work that she has done in this area. Does he share my view of how important it is that court proceedings are properly reported by trained journalists so that justice can be seen to be done? Will he continue to work with the Society of Editors, the News Media Association and others to see what further measures can be taken to achieve that?

Chris Philp Portrait Chris Philp
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14 Jan 2020, 12:14 p.m.

I strongly concur and can certainly give my right hon. Friend the commitment he asks for. Certainly from the perspective of Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service, staff are given training to facilitate access by journalists, and the Ministry is currently giving very active and relatively imminent consideration to ways of making sure that court decisions and proceedings are brought more directly to the public.