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Birmingham Pub Bombings: Legal Aid

Volume 639: debated on Tuesday 24 April 2018

17. What recent representations he has received on legal aid for families of the victims of the 1974 Birmingham pub bombings. (904910)

We have had a number of representations about this issue, many from the hon. Gentleman himself. I took part in the Westminster Hall debate on the subject, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to hear from him and many other Members. The Secretary of State also met the family of a victim recently. I understand that the recent decisions of the Legal Aid Agency are frustrating for the families, but the hon. Gentleman knows that I am unable to intervene in individual cases.

As public funding has been made available to the coroner to appeal the judgment of the High Court on the naming of suspects in relation to the Birmingham pub bombings inquests, should not parity of representation be made available to the families of the victims of those bombings, to defend that same High Court judgment? If legal aid is not available to the families, why does the Minister not make funding directly available, following the example of the Hillsborough inquests?

The hon. Gentleman makes a powerful point. This is a tragedy for all those concerned. He knows that the families have legal aid in relation to the inquest. Legislation on legal aid for judicial review and for inquests is different.