Clarke makes U-turn over Chief Coroner post

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Indy Politics

Ken Clarke, the Justice Secretary, last night backed down and announced he would no longer go-ahead with plans to scrap the post of Chief Coroner.

Fearing an embarrassing defeat in the House of Lords over the proposal the Government said it would keep the post which military campaigners say is essential for improving inquests into military deaths.

The post of chief coroner was created by Labour in 2009 but has never been filled. Advocates said that a single head is needed to improve the speed and sensitivity of coroner's inquires into the deaths of military personnel.

They claim the current system does not deal with the special requirements of military inquests, arguing that a chief coroner is needed to ensure coroners have specialist training and deal with military deaths more quickly.

However until now the Government had insisted it would not back down on the plan in the Public Bodies Bill to abolish the post.

The Royal British Legion had urged MPs and Lords to back the amendment and warned ministers that only by filling the post can they complete the Military Covenant between the nation and its Armed Forces.