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May seeks review of 7/7 ruling

Home Secretary Theresa May is seeking a judicial review of the coroner's decision not to hear top secret intelligence material in closed sessions during the July 7 inquests.

Lady Justice Hallett rejected arguments by lawyers for MI5 that she had powers to exclude the bereaved families from hearings so she could examine highly sensitive documents which would damage national security if made public.

But the Home Office is appealing against her decision, saying while it welcomed the inquests that does not mean "that we will put lives at risk and undermine our national security by not protecting sensitive material".

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "The Government has made clear that it welcomes the coroner's inquests. We hope that they will allow the families of the victims to get to the bottom of the tragic events of July 7 2005.

"This does not mean, though, that we will put lives at risk and undermine our national security by not protecting sensitive material.

"Therefore, having carefully considered the Coroner's ruling on closed evidence, we have decided to appeal."

Last week, Lady Justice Hallett, an appeal court judge appointed as assistant deputy coroner to hear the inquest for the 2005 attacks on London, said she would not allow the inquest to put lives at risk and said the secret evidence could be edited to remove names of sources and other confidential information.

She said: "I am still hopeful that with full cooperation on all sides, most if not all of the relevant material can and will be put before me in such a way that national security is not threatened."

The coroner also ruled she had the power to consider covertly obtained material but could not rely upon it as evidence.

She referred to the cargo plane terror plot, which was foiled when explosives were found at East Midlands Airport on Friday, as an example of the pressures on the intelligence agencies.

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