§ 29. Mr. Marlowe
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware of the urgent need to introduce legislation to amend the law relating to coroners' courts; what steps he has taken consequent upon his undertaking of 5th February, 1948, to look into this question; and whether it is intended to implement any of the recommendations on this subject contained in the report of the Lord Wright Committee made in 1935.
§ Mr. Ede
Most of the recommendations of the Departmental Committee on Coroners could be implemented only by legislation. Although I have not overlooked the desirability of reviewing the law relating to coroners, I cannot promise to introduce legislation on this difficult and controversial question in the near future.
§ Mr. Marlowe
Does the Minister not agree that a large measure of the reform which is required is not controversial at all, and that there is a wide measure of agreement as to what needs to be done? Does he not think that a Parliament such as this provides a good opportunity for legislation of this kind?
§ Earl Winterton
Is the Home Secretary aware that again and again, so far as it is possible to do so under the Rules of the House, attention has been called to the fantastic anomaly of the present law and the extraordinary latitude allowed to these people? Why should he not bring in a Bill which provokes no party controversy, and which we could leave to the discretion of the House to pass? Is he aware that two years ago he promised to give consideration to this most urgent question?
§ Mr. Marlowe
Does not the Home Secretary agree that most of the controversy comes from the coroners themselves, and that it is in order to remove from them certain privileges, which they are trying to safeguard, that this House ought to act?