Glimmer of hope for new law forcing coroners to record veteran suicide as Portsmouth MP bids to launch legislation

A GLIMMER of hope has been raised to force coroners to record veteran suicides.

Friday, 25th October 2019, 10:53 am
Updated Sunday, 27th October 2019, 8:02 pm

People in Portsmouth are being asked to vote on Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan’s choice of private members bill.

One of the options is getting coroners to record veteran suicide. Lobbying for the change was launched after The News and our sister JPIMedia titles ran an investigation into the hidden problem.

Currently there is no data on veterans who died by suicide as coroners at inquests are not required to record the data.

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Stephen Morgan speaking at the debate regarding veteran suicide in April.

A new government office for veterans’ affairs, led by Plymouth MP Johnny Mercer, was set up to in part ‘provide greater focus on veteran suicides’.

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Mr Morgan has previously accused Boris Johnson’s government of a ‘time-wasting blame game’ in failing to make changes.

His poll puts the suicide recording against harsher fines for those who commit environmental offences, votes for 16-year-olds, or an end to auto-renewing subscriptions to avoid unfair charges.

Mr Morgan said: ‘Portsmouth people should have direct access to democracy, that is why I have asked them for their thoughts.

‘This is an exciting opportunity for us to put our heads together and come up an idea for making Portsmouth even better.

‘If I was to be successful in this raffle-like process, I want to make sure that Portsmouth people are right alongside me in changing the law, after all it is the community set to be most affected.’

Mr Morgan has entered a ballot for a private member’s bill and wants constituents’ views on what his proposed law would be. It is rare for private member’s bills to pass into law, and Mr Morgan must be selected by ballot first.

Co-founder of Portsmouth-based veteran charity All Call Signs, Stephen James, previously told The News: ‘Getting this data is the first domino that has to fall for there to be a change. Let's not forget these are men and women who have been sent into the middle of war zones in the past, we have a duty of care towards them.’