Fight to save prison moves forward

Wellingborough Prison
Wellingborough Prison

Wellingborough’s MP has secured a debate in Parliament about the proposed closure of Wellingborough Prison.

The Justice Secretary Ken Clarke announced last week, on the day before Parliament went into recess, that the “out of date” prison would close by the end of the year.

The news came as a shock to staff at the prison and the town’s MP Peter Bone who has since been fighting for the decision to be overturned.

Mr Bone has now been informed that his request for an emergency debate has been granted and will take place in the House of Commons at 4pm on Wednesday, September 5.

Mr Bone said: “The prison minister will have to come to Parliament, answer my questions and explain why Wellingborough Prison should be closed.

“In addition, I have written to the Secretary of State for Justice requesting that any decision to close the prison is put off until after Parliament has had an opportunity to discuss it. In that letter I also invited the Secretary of State for Justice to visit the prison prior to the debate.

“I have received a hand written apology from the Secretary of State for Justice for not informing me in advance of the planned closure. Apparently he had approved plans for me to be told a few hours in advance, as would be normal practice, but for some reason this did not happen. He was appalled by the failure of his department to do so.

“It is my intention to meet with the Governor of the prison this Friday. When I spoke to her she was as surprised as I was about what has happened.

“I have met with representatives of the prison officers and as always they have been most helpful with their comments and views.

“I would also like to thank Wellingborough Council leader Cllr Paul Bell for meeting with me and the support he and the borough council has given to our efforts to keep the prison open.

“I still believe that this is the wrong prison being closed for the wrong reasons at the wrong time.”

The closure of the category C prison would result in the loss of almost 600 prison places and save the Government £10m per year.