We all recognise that coroners are underfunded.
The Prime Minister is to be congratulated for undertaking to bring the Military Covenant into law. The debt owed by our Nation to our service men and women extends beyond their deaths on active service. It is a disgrace that public money is spent by the Ministry of Defence on lawyers to defend its own interests in the ensuing inquests whilst bereaved families are denied publically funded legal representation. Section 51 of the dormant Coroners and Justice Act 2009 should be brought into force immediately to rectify this iniquity.
It has been the failure properly to have a full, open inquiry into the circumstances of the death of the late Dr David Kelly which has provoked so much concern. This highly respected government scientist is also owed a duty to ascertain exactly how he came by his death. An informal inquiry, evidence not taken on oath, witnesses not being compellable to give evidence such as was undertaken by Lord Hutton is no substitute for a properly conducted inquest where the rigours of cross examination will often elucidate the truth.
Openness is the answer to most anxieties giving rise to suspicions of conspiracy and cover-up whether in medical treatment failures or unnatural deaths where prominent individuals loose their lives in highly unusual circumstances.
There are those who dismiss the call for a proper inquest into the death of Dr Kelly as being driven by "conspiracy theorists". Dubbing this call in such a way is an attempt to dismiss consideration on the merits. Let us not throw the baby out with the bath water; there is a real and justifiable concern about the adequacy of Lord Hutton's inquiry in respect to the cause of Dr Kelly's death.