Grahame moved by judge’s closure case

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Borders MSP Christine Grahame has given the clearest indication yet of her likely vote on court closure proposals, to take place on Tuesday.

At this week’s meeting of the parliament’s justice committee, chaired by Ms Grahame, Lord Gill said of the plan to close 10 sheriff courts: “On balance my own view is that this is the way forward.”

Speaking afterwards, Ms Grahame said: “If the most senior judge in Scotland says this is the way forward for justice, who am I to gainsay.”

However, speaking to TheSouthern, the SNP member said: “I have not made up my mind and I will listen to all the evidence.”

The committee is to debate the closures with justice secretary Kenny MacAskill next Tuesday, after which a vote will be taken.

Mr MacAskill gave evidence to the committee on Tuesday, and “made a very powerful case” for the closures, Ms Grahame said.

But MSP John Lamont, who sits on the committee, said: “After questioning Kenny MacAskill at the justice committee, it seems that he cannot decide whether these closures are to improve our justice system or to save costs. With questions being raised over whether these cuts will save any money at all, the concern is that they will achieve neither of these objectives.”

Mr Lamont added: “The SNP have the chance to stop these closures going ahead and they have to choose 
between loyalty to their party or doing right by their 
constituents.”