I was very disappointed to read about Ian Craine’s experience of trying to discuss proposed changes to legal aid with Liberal Democrat MPs. May I assure him that the Liberal Democrat Lawyers Association is lobbying hard over these proposals to try and persuade our MPs that they are misguided. So far we have found a very receptive audience of people who listen and understand the potential for chaos that they bring.
A number of MPs, including party president Tim Farron and chair of the backbench group Greg Mulholland, have said that they are very happy to be quoted as being opposed to the scheme. That opposition will continue to grow as we speak to other MPs, and we will be bringing a motion to our autumn conference opposing these proposals in explicit terms. We have also been in contact with our counterpart groups in the Conservative and Labour parties, and the opposition to these totally reckless proposals seems to be widespread across all three parties.
Our party policy on legal aid was agreed in 2011. That states that no changes should be brought in without proper impact assessments and trials. The current proposals do not accord with this.
David Watts, solicitor, ZMS Solicitors, Leicester, member of the Liberal Democrat Lawyers Association working party on legal aid reform