We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.Donate to our crowdfunder
On amendment No. 180, it is not our intention that the inquest should be anywhere other than the appropriate location. Given that I have said that these will be cases that are few and far between and very small, even with a cadre of six to eight specially appointed coroners it should not be beyond wit or practicability to ensure that that prevails. I hope that gives the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome the reassurance he seeks.
On the wider points made by the hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield, much of what he has discussed relates to what we were talking about before in terms of whether the Secretary of State, the Lord Chief Justice or whomever should be party to the appointments. I would prefer that we take that away and look at it in the same spirit as I have suggested, save for a couple of points. As I understand it, members of my office are developed vetted over the course of six months. They have to be, because of my responsibilities. It is quite a tortuous process—I am not sure whether their friends talk to them again—and it does not involve any increase in their remuneration. They then go back and get on with their job.
The point about remuneration is included because of cases such as Diana. That is not an appropriate example, because the coroner was judge-appointed, but in such cases there is an extraordinary level of travel and other costs additional to the regular remuneration. It is not about paying some inflated fee to special coroners because they are lapdogs and lickspittles of the Government, which of course they will not be.
The broad spirit of the amendments, including amendment No. 178, which we have discussed, is about who should make the appointment and whether it should be an Executive role. I am happy to consider the matter and return to it on Report. In that context, I ask that the amendment be withdrawn.