Coroners and Justice Bill — Enable Minister to Replace Inquest With Inquiry — Incercept Evidence in Inquests — 9 Nov 2009 at 18:33
The majority of MPs voted to allow the Lord Chancellor (a minister) to suspend an inquest and replace it with an inquiry and to allow the use of intercepted communications evidence in inquests.
The majority of MPs voted against:
- Amendment (a) proposed in lieu of Lords amendments 1, 2 and 216.
Amendment (a) stated:
- Page 115, line 29, leave out paragraph 3.
The paragraph 3 in question was titled Suspension pending inquiry under Inquiries Act 2005. The paragraph required, subject to conditions, that "a senior coroner must suspend an investigation under this Part of this Act into a person’s death if the Lord Chancellor requests the coroner to do so on the ground that the cause of death is likely to be adequately investigated by an inquiry under the Inquiries Act 2005 (c. 12) that is being or is to be held."
Lords amendments 1,2, and 216 which were rejected by in this vote were on a different subject, that of the use of intercepted communications in inquests.
Rejected amendment 1 sought to permit communications intercepts under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 in order to obtain information required by an inquest. Rejected amendment 2 provided for the allowing the disclosure of intercepted material to a judge carrying out an inquest, the counsel to an inquest, an inquest jury and interested parties at an inquest. Rejected amendment 216 provided for intercept evidence to only be used in relation to ongoing, or future investigations and not those which had concluded at the time the provisions came into force.
Due to a procedural farce Minister Jack Straw, the Lord Chancellor proposed amendment (a) in lieu of Lords amendments 1, 2 and 216 but then went on to vote against it. The standing orders of the House of Commons and the procedural motion passed to determine the timetable for handling the bill meant that the opposition were unable to table the motion.
It was later claimed that this slim majority of only eight votes was in-fact slimmer than it appeared due to a number of Labour MPs voted the wrong way by mistake. Denis MacShane has said he felt he voted the wrong way on this vote.
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
-  Amendment sheet containing amendment (a)
-  Version of the Coroners and Justice Bill to which the amendments relate
-  Lords amendments sheet containing amendments 1 and 2
-  Page of Lords amendments sheet containing amendment 216
-  Andrew Dismore, 12 November 2009, House of Commons
-  Denis MacShane, 12 November 2009, House of Commons
-  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|
|Con||0||168 (+2 tell)||0||88.1%|
|Lab||273 (+2 tell)||30||0||87.4%|