Local MP Alex Cunningham has welcomed the government U turn on abolishing the Office of the Chief Coroner, saying the retention of the post will undoubtedly have significant implications for Teesside, providing a clear boss for the local coroner and hopefully driving up standards.
This climb down from the government came after Labour backed the British Legion in their hard fought campaign for the retention of the Chief Coroner. However, Justice Secretary Ken Clarke has stated the chief will not be able to act as a court of appeal against other coroners’ decisions, a role which the Legion have pushed for.
The office of the chief coroner was established under Labour in November 2009, after concerns were raised over the inconsistent service provided by coroners across the country. The British Legion has argued a chief coroner is essential to improve the handling of inquiries into military deaths.
“I’m pleased the government have now decided to do the right thing and retain the chief coroner. They have finally listened to the Royal British Legion and Labour who first introduced the post.
“It should make all the difference to the coroner’s service across the country – and particularly on Teesside where performance by the Teesside coroner has been very poor in recent times. A clear line manager should ensure that standards are driven up and local families will no longer have to suffer long delays for inquests into their loved ones’ deaths to be concluded.”