Portsmouth MP opposes planned changes to legal aid

Former Ukip councillor joins city Conservatives

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A PORTSMOUTH MP is urging the government to reconsider its changes to legal aid provisions.

It’s been proposed that a limit should be put on contracts awarded to firms to practice legal aid.

Defendants in court cases could also be no longer allowed to choose their legal representative and instead be allocated to them.

The changes are designed to help cut the deficit. Between 2011 and 2012, just under £1.1bn was spent on legal aid.

Mike Hancock, who represents the south of the city, said: ‘I am extremely concerned about these change to the provisions to legal aid, especially any restrictions on access.

‘This right to have professional representation within the justice system is a constitutional right – protected by common law.

‘This access is fundamental in a democracy founded on the rule of law. In my mind, any proposals to restrict this warrant closer scrutiny.’