Coroners and Justice Bill — Schedule 1 — Explicit Approval of Lord Chief Justice Required for Minister to Suspend Coroner's Inquiry -rejected — 12 Nov 2009 at 12:45

The majority No voters rejected an amendment[1] to the Coroners and Justice Bill. The amendment would have required the explicit approval of the head of the judiciary before a government minister could suspend an inquest and replace it with an inquiry[2].

The Lord Chief Justice is the head of the judiciary. The relevant government minister is the Lord Chancellor, currently Jack Straw MP, the Minister for Justice.

Jack Straw claimed that the proposed addition was legislating unnecessarily as it followed that if the Lord Chief Justice had appointed a judge then he approved the request to suspend the coroner's investigation. He described the situation prior to the proposed addition as already being: "as clear as a pikestaff"[3].

If one accepts the Minister's argument then this was not a vote on the question of if a Minister ought be given the power to suspend an inquest. Those disagreeing saw the additional condition as a necessary "additional safeguard and reassurance".[4]

The main provisions of the Coroners and Justice Bill were to[5]:

  • 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


Debate in Parliament | Source |

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Party Summary

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.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 138 (+2 tell)072.5%
DUP0 1011.1%
Independent0 3050.0%
Lab243 (+2 tell) 12073.6%
LDem0 29046.0%
PC0 30100.0%
Total:243 186069.5%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

Colin ChallenMorley and RothwellLab (minister)aye
Andrew DismoreHendonLab (minister)aye
David DrewStroudLab (minister)aye
Frank FieldBirkenheadLab (minister)aye
Kate HoeyVauxhallLab (minister)aye
Kelvin HopkinsLuton NorthLab (minister)aye
Glenda JacksonHampstead and HighgateLabaye
Lynne JonesBirmingham, Selly OakLab (minister)aye
John Martin McDonnellHayes and HarlingtonLabaye
Austin MitchellGreat GrimsbyLab (minister)aye
Gordon PrenticePendleLab (minister)aye
Alan SimpsonNottingham SouthLabaye

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