On Thursday 28th October I spoke in the Westminster Hall debate on the Coroners Service. I have had a longstanding involvement with many of the bereaved families and survivors affected by the 1989 Hillsborough disaster and have seen closely how the justice system has failed them – in part because of the failings of the Coroners Service.
Produced by the Justice Select Committee, of which I’m the Senior Labour Member, the report proposes “an automatic entitlement to non-means tested legal aid for legal representation for bereaved people at inquests into mass fatalities.” This recommendation by the Committee forms a substantial part of the of the Public Authorities Accountability Bill, proposed by Andy Burnham, which I am a co-sponsor. Along with the Public Advocate Bill which I will be moving in the House on the 19th November, I believe the measures which are proposed in these Bills would go a long way to preventing what happened to the Hillsborough families ever happening again to families of those bereaved in public disasters.
Whilst it’s disappointing that the Government has only accepted 6 out of 25 recommendations, I will continue to push these important proposals.