Coroners and Justice Bill — Condemn the Coroners and Justice Bill — rejected — 26 Jan 2009 at 21:48
The majority of MPs voted against the motion to condemn the Coroners and Justice Bill.
The motion, which was rejected, said:
- This House declines to give a Second Reading to the Coroners and Justice Bill
- because it provides for inquests in private and without a jury, at the behest of the Secretary of State and on grounds that are overbroad;
- because it unduly restricts what coroners and inquest juries may say about a death; because it proposes reforms to the law of murder that are ill-thought through and incomplete;
- because it fails to deal with legitimate criticisms of the legislation on anonymous witnesses, and in particular because it fails to make adequate provision for the use of special counsel;
- because the system of sentencing guidelines it proposes fails to incorporate adequately the aim of reducing re-offending;
- because it will allow unlimited data sharing to occur between any organisations or persons for the purposes of supporting unspecified government policies, regardless of the safeguards contained in other legislation; and
- because, to the extent that other measures proposed in the Bill are welcome and not merely symbolic, those measures should have been brought forward in separate Bills to allow them to be scrutinised more carefully.
No Conservative MP voted on this motion.
Although the government has not been forced to point to specific examples of past inquests which it would have chosen to hold in private without a jury had it had the power, the best candidate of such an inquest is the case of Lance Corporal Matty Hull killed by U.S. "friendly fire" where the government could have certified the case under Clause 11(2)(a)(ii): "in order to protect the interests of the relationship between the United Kingdom and another country", since there is no limitation as to how little the relationship with the other country is harmed.
The other extremely contentious issue is the provision found in Clause 152 which would allow a ministers to order the over-riding of the Data Protection Act to "secure a relevant policy objective".
The main provisions of the Coroners and Justice Bill were to:
- Allow secret inquests although the Lord Chief Justice can veto requests for private inquests and decide who the judge is
- Prevent criminals from profiting from publications about their crimes
- Allow courts to grant anonymity to vulnerable or intimidated witnesses as long as this still ensured a fair trial
-  David Howarth MP, House of Commons, 26 January 2009
-  Certification by Secretary of State in interests of national security etc, Clause 11, Coroners and Justice Bill
-  Families fight plan for secret inquests in friendly-fire deaths, The Guardian, 6 April 2008
-  Data bill jeopardises confidentiality, say doctors' leaders, The Guardian, 14 February 2009
-  Power to enable information sharing, Clause 152, Coroners and Justice Bill
-  Wikipedia entry, Retrieved on 2010-02-07
Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.
What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.
What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.
What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.
|Party||Majority (No)||Minority (Aye)||Both||Turnout|
|Lab||276 (+2 tell)||2||0||80.0%|
|LDem||0||41 (+2 tell)||0||68.3%|
|Jeremy Corbyn||Islington North||Lab||aye|
|John Martin McDonnell||Hayes and Harlington||Lab||aye|