35. Mr. Edwards
asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of statements recently made by coroners which seem to be outside the function of a coroner, he will now consider expediting action on the report of the Departmental Committee which deplores the tendency of coroners to make animadversions on the character and conduct of individuals?
§ The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Sir John Simon)
I am not sure what particular statements the hon. Member has in mind, but I fear there is no prospect of an opportunity being found during the present Session for any legislation on the subject of coroners. I do not think that there is any action which can conveniently be taken meanwhile to deal with particular recommendations included in the Committee's report; but I have no doubt coroners have noted the recommendation in the report on the point to which the hon. Member refers.
Can the right hon. Gentleman assure us that some action will soon be taken, and will he bear in mind that it was because of the action of coroners that the committee was set up, and that a great many people think that the committee was so much eyewash?
§ Sir J. Simon
I do not think the Noble Lady should take that view. The committee reported early in the year, and it is not always possible to legislate immediately a committee has reported. I certainly agree with the committee in 23 deprecating animadversions unnecessarily made in the course of an inquest which reflect on persons not before the court, and who have no means of replying.