MP Conor McGinn has described the drastic cuts to opening hours at Newton-le-Willows police station as "deeply worrying".

The decision to make station only open to the public on Fridays has generated heavy criticism from politicians and residents.

The St Helens North MP raised the issue during a discussion in the House of Commons this week.

The Labour MP said: "People in my constituency will have listened with incredulity to the Home Secretary talk about extra resources when yesterday they were told that Newton-le-Willows police station will be closed but from a few hours on a Friday precisely because there is a lack of resources."

In a statement, Mr McGinn added: "The news that Newton-le-Willows police station is to drastically reduce its public opening times is deeply worrying.

"Tory cuts to the police service have seen a huge reduction in the number of of police officers, meaning that policing resources are moving further away from communities while crime is increasing.

"Residents in St Helens borough need and deserve better. I have been in contact with the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner to raise my concerns and seek assurances about future policing provision in our borough.

"But ultimately the responsibility for this lies with the Tory government, and I raised it with the Home Secretary in Westminster."

Two St Helens councillors, Paul Lynch and Michelle Sweeney, have voted against plans to increase the police precept in the wake of a decision.

Newton councillor Seve-Gomez Aspron swiftly rounded on the plans and this was followed by strong words from St Helens Council leader Derek Long said the "effective closure"of the station of six days a week is a decision which "undermines public confidence in the police".