Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:33 am on 26th April 2007.

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Photo of Jack Straw Jack Straw Chair, Modernisation of the House of Commons Committee, Leader of the House of Commons and Lord Privy Seal 11:33 am, 26th April 2007

I cannot give any undertaking that the Home Secretary will be able to make a statement on Monday. He has always been assiduous in responding to requests from the House, but I can make no promise about that. On printing and the six-monthly report, I will follow that up. Either I or the Home Secretary will write to the hon. Gentleman.

On coroners, the Lord Chancellor is well aware of the backlog of inquests, particularly military inquests dealing with deaths in action. It is partly for that reason that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence made arrangements to shift the site of the incoming flights carrying the coffins of those who have been killed in action from Brize Norton to Lyneham. We hope that that is working better, but all of us are extremely anxious to ensure that, first, there are prompt inquests and, secondly, that they are thorough and that, when they take place, they show proper respect to the young man or woman who was killed in action and to their families and comrades.

I am afraid that I will have to write to the hon. Gentleman about the train crash in Devon—[Hon. Members: "In Berkshire."] I am sorry; that is why I knew nothing about a train crash in Devon. The train crash in Berkshire is a different matter. I will take it up with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport and the Lord Chancellor.

I agree with the hon. Gentleman about engineering and innovation. We will have to look to see whether there is an opportunity for a debate, but all of us need to understand and appreciate the extraordinary role that science and engineering have made in the development of our society. I recognised that last Friday when I was privileged to open the new exhibition on Blackburn's textile heritage. As everyone in the House should know—I think that most do—the industrial revolution and therefore Britain's greatness began in Blackburn.