Keep an Eye on Jack Straw

Justice Secretary Jack Straw appears to be backing down on elements of his Coroners and Justice Bill, in the face of tumultuous protest by the public and civil liberties groups:

Jack Straw today announced plans to amend the coroners and justice bill to limit the extent to which it could be used to allow inquests to be held in private.

The justice secretary told MPs that he was “fundamentally” recasting his plans in response to complaints from civil liberty campaigners opposed to the way the bill would allow inquests to be held without juries in cases involving sensitive information with implications for national security.

He also confirmed that proposals in the bill to allow information collected by one government department to be shared with another had been put on hold.

The operative words are ‘been put on hold’. As I’ve put in a previous post, the culture in Whitehall is now so rooted in data sharing and databases, that it’s only a matter of time before the aim of Clause 152 is reintroduced. It’s interesting that he is still responding to protest, but I fail to understand the logic or morality of having inquests held in private.

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