Portsmouth MP writes to all UK coroners to find out how to break veteran suicide crisis deadlock

A POLITICIAN has written to all of Britain's coroners in a bid to get them to record every veteran suicide.

Monday, 1st July 2019, 5:19 pm
Stephen Morgan, Portsmouth South MP, has written to all of the UK's coroners in a bid to find out what barriers they have in recording veteran suicide. Picture: Chris Moorhouse (060619-20)

Stephen Morgan has sent letters to 98 coroners across the UK in a bid to break the deadlock between the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Defence – who can’t agree how a system would be put in place.

The Portsmouth South MP – who teamed up with armed forces group All Call Signs to write the letter – has quizzed coroners on the best way of setting up a new data facility, which doesn’t yet exist.

Military charities say the need to record the information was key, with some estimates saying one one veteran every five days takes their own lives.

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However, campaigners suggest without a quantifiable records, this figure could be far higher – last year more than 70 veterans were claimed to have killed themselves, with charities saying at least 37 have died this year.

City Labour leader Mr Morgan insisted that whenever he had pressed the government on the matter he had always been told coroners were ‘fiercely independent’ and Whitehall couldn't force them to record the data.

He said: ‘Our armed forces personnel deserve better than for us to crumble at the first hurdle. They show untold resilience every day, the least we can do is push on this.

‘I along with All Call Sings will not be taking no for an answer and if the government has said coroners are the obstacle, we will get to the root of the problem and see how it can be overcome it.’

‘The goal could not be simpler: get coroners on board with this small change that would have hugely positive effects for our armed forces community.’