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Apr 13th, 2012

Legal Aid: Four Days Left

By Conor

Justice Statue

Photograph by Rex Features/NXB

On Tuesday, MPs will vote on the government’s cuts to legal aid. Over the last few months, the House of Lords have made some vital changes to the plans. Their changes would protect children, domestic violence victims and people living with a disability from the worst of the legal aid cuts.

But there’s a real danger that all this good work could go to waste.MPs have a choice. They could back the Lords to stop the worst of the cuts. Or they could vote to stick with the government’s original plans.

We only have a few days left before the vote. The government will be trying to persuade MPs to reverse the Lords’ changes. Now, we need to work together to persuade MPs not to give in to the government’s pressure, and stand up for legal aid by voting for the House of Lords’ amendments.

Lots of people have spoken out against the government’s plans. Lords and Baronesses have been joined by influential Lib Dem MPs like Simon Hughes and Tom Brake, as well as experts from groups including Scope, Women’s Aid, and single parent charity Gingerbread.

Now we need to make sure MPs hear from their voters too. Together we can make it clear that we don’t want them to undo the House of Lords’ good work. If enough of us email our MPs, 38 Degrees members can convince them to go to the critical vote and back the House of Lords’ changes.

Fiona Weir from Gingerbread, the charity for single parents, believes 38 Degrees members are vital to getting the vote to go the right way: “We’ve got to make these changes stick when the Bill returns to the Commons. Action from 38 Degrees members can help to tip the balance between a bill that fails victims of domestic violence and their children or a bill that protects them”.

The government’s legal aid changes could mean that people living with a disability, children and victims of domestic violence will suffer most. That’s why senior lawyers warn that these changes will be “bad for children, bad for women and bad for families.”

It’s going to be close. But time and again, 38 Degrees members have taken action to stand up for what’s fair. We’ve challenged the government when they’ve turned a blind eye to tax dodgers. And we made it clear that we won’t put up with intrusive government plans to monitor our emails.

It takes 2 minutes to email your MP. Click here to get started.

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