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Minister confirms U-turn on data sharing

But zombie clause will return

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Justice minister Michael Wills confirmed to Parliament yesterday that clause 152 of the Coroners and Justice Bill to provide ministers with unlimited inter-department data sharing has been removed.

The clauses were tacked onto an unrelated bill dealing with making certain inquests secret - this has also been amended and reduced in scope.

Wills said the move was not a U-turn but the result of "proper process of parliamentary scrutiny". Jack Straw also claimed to be following such parliamentary niceties by announcing the changes to the House, but of course he did no such thing; the reversal was spun anonymously to Sunday papers ten days ago.

But the government's love affair with databases as the cure for all ills has not ended.

Wills told the House the proposals would be redrafted and will be reintroduced at some point in the future - as predicted by our own Monsieur Ozimek ten days ago.

The data sharing proposals were heavily criticised by the British Computing Society and the British Medical Association amongst others. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

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