MPs unite in fight to retain courts.

The battle is on to keep Keighley's courts local.

Local Conservative MPs are joining forces to stop Keighley Magistrates' Court and Keighley County Court moving to Bradford.

This week Keighley MP Kris Hopkins and Shipley's Philip Davies issued statements to the Keighley News after meeting with the chairman of the Keighley bench, Jarlath Bancroft.

Mr Hopkins (right) said: "It was extremely useful to have had the opportunity to hear Mr Bancroft's views and to assure him and his colleagues on the Bench of my full support as we seek to keep justice local.

Clearly we are where we are because of the requirement to save costs following the economic ruin left by the previous Government. But we agreed that the needs - not just of defendants, but of victims and their families - are best served when justice is administered locally.

I shall be making representations to the Justice Minister and asking him to meet with a delegation from Keighley and Ilkley to hear at first hand why we believe it is vital that both Keighley Magistrates' Court and Keighley County Court should be allowed to continue their excellent work in serving local people. The battle is very much on."

In his statement, Mr Davies said: "The Coalition Government has inherited a financial mess. This year the Government will borrow over £150 billion, almost £500 million every single day. It is therefore inevitable that they have to explore every avenue to save money but the proposed closure of Keighley Magistrates' Court at Bingley should not be part of this deficit-reduction strategy.

The closure of courts across the country is predicted to save £15 million, which won't make much of a dent into the deficit anyway, but I wonder if that money will be saved anyway.

How many more people won't turn up to court in Bradford because it is further? How much extra will it cost the courts and the police to produce and enforce warrants for non-attendance? How much extra will be spent transferring people from Keighley Police Station to Bradford? Given that the utilisation of the court in Bingley is already one of the highest in the region, it seems hard to justify closing such a busy, well preserved court.

Over £1.3 billion is currently outstanding in unpaid court fines. If the Government really wants to reduce the deficit in a way which would be popular, I suggest it starts by making inroads into that huge figure."