The Prime Minister has ordered a rethink after the families of the Shoreham air show crash victims were denied legal aid for the inquest into their deaths.
Theresa May told fellow Conservative MP Tim Loughton, who represents East Worthing and Shoreham, that she would ask the Lord Chancellor David Livingston to look into the case.
At Prime Minister’s questions today (Wednesday 1 November) Mr Loughton said: “On 22 August 2015, 11 men in my constituency tragically lost their lives in the Shoreham airshow disaster.
“More than 26 months later, no decision has been taken on criminal charges and the coroner’s inquest has been delayed again until November 2018.
“The families of the victims have just had their application for exceptional case funding rejected by the Legal Aid Agency and they will likely be the only people at the inquest not to be legally represented.
“Will my right honourable friend agree to look at the case again and to meet the families to ensure that they have proper access to justice?
“This exceptionally tragic case has a much wider public interest for safety at all airshows.”
Mrs May said: “My honourable friend raises a very important issue and I fully understand the concerns of the families.
“He talks about the timetable for decisions and the Department for Transport has accepted the Air Accidents Investigation Branch’s recommendation to commission an independent review.
“The department is working with the Air Accidents Investigation Branch to determine the exact scope of the review.
“The Civil Aviation Authority has accepted all the recommendations.
“Considerable work is going on to learn the lessons from this disaster and obviously we are also committed to ensuring that, where there is a public disaster, people are able to have proper representation.
“I will ask the Lord Chancellor to look at the questions raised by my honourable friend.”