A group of MPs have backed a call by the National Union of Journalists for an inquiry into the future of local newspapers.

They have signed an early day motion put down by Gareth Thomas, Labour member for Harrow West, in which he laments the closure of his constituency’s weekly, the Harrow Observer.

The paper is one of seven Trinity Mirror titles to close this month But, as with the Reading Post and Surrey Herald, the paper will continue to have a digital presence.

Mr Thomas is quoted on the NUJ website as saying: “I was very sorry to hear that the Harrow Observer is closing down. It has played a key role in fostering a sense of community in the borough, helping people to know what was going on… It has always been a crucial forum for debating local important issues and it will leave a big gap. “

Given the vital role that local newspapers play in informing our local democracy, I am calling for a short cross-party and inter-departmental inquiry to see how we can protect and secure a future for local newspapers.”