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Coroners: Armed Forces

Volume 463: debated on Thursday 19 July 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the adequacy of funding for the coroner to conduct inquiries into British military and auxiliary medical personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan respectively. (150378)

Coroners are funded by the relevant local authority and police authority. Until 31 March 2007 bodies from Iraq and Afghanistan were repatriated via RAF Brize Norton in the Oxfordshire coroner’s jurisdiction and the Government exceptionally provided additional resources to the Oxfordshire coroner to deal with a backlog which had built up in his jurisdiction. Since 1 April 2007 bodies from Iraq and Afghanistan have been repatriated via RAF Lyneham to the jurisdiction of the Wiltshire and Swindon coroner. The coroner has transferred the majority of the inquests to coroners located more closely to the deceased’s next of kin. We are keeping the handling of these inquests under review and reporting to the House quarterly on progress. The Secretary of State and I plan to meet the Wiltshire and Swindon coroner before the recess and MOJ and MOD officials will also be meeting the coroner, Wiltshire county council and Wiltshire constabulary shortly.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to meet Mr. David Masters, the Wiltshire coroner, to discuss military inquests. (150518)