Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 30th March 1998.

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Photo of Simon Hughes Simon Hughes Opposition Deputy Chief Whip (Commons), Shadow Spokesperson (Health) 12:00 am, 30th March 1998

I am very encouraged by the Home Secretary' answer, for which I thank him. For many years, there has been a file on the desk of his predecessors marked "Reform of the Inquest System", which has lain unattended to.

I share the right hon. Gentleman's view—it is not just the view of Lord Justice Stuart-Smith—on the Hillsborough inquiry. The families of people who lost their lives in the sinking of the Marchioness and many others feel that, unless we sort out the relationship between inquests, civil and criminal proceedings and public inquiries, we are condemning many people to a lottery of decisions, often involving many years of grief and difficulty. May I tell the right hon. Gentleman that if he wants support and encouragement to get an agreed procedure, many of us will be happy to oblige?