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Dunblane: Inquiry

Volume 570: debated on Thursday 21 March 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:On what basis the inquiry into the Dunblane shootings will be established and what will be its terms of reference.

The inquiry will be established under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921. This procedure, which was followed in the case of the Aberfan inquiry, will enable evidence to be taken on oath, as Lord Cullen wishes, and will attract the provisions of the Contempt of Court Act 1981. My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Scotland proposes that the inquiry's terms of reference should be:"To inquire into the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the events at Dunblane Primary School on Wednesday 13th March 1996, which resulted in the deaths of 18 people; to consider the issues arising therefrom; to make such interim and final recommendations as may seem appropriate; and to report as soon as practicable."It is important that adequate preparation time is allowed as this will enable the inquiry itself to be shorter and more focused. My right honourable friend anticipates that, after initial procedure, the inquiry will begin to take evidence in public in June with a view to reporting by about the end of September.Meanwhile work will be carried forward within Government to review relevant aspects of firearms legislation, school security and the supervision of adults working with children so that we will be in a position to respond promptly to recommendations from the Inquiry.