Teesside's coroner has resigned announcing his retirement for the end of April. In a statement Michael Sheffield said his retirement "follows the implementation and satisfactory process in the increased resourcing and administration of the Teesside coroner's office."
It follows a decade of criticism that some inquests on Teesside take too long to be heard. There is still a backlog of more than 300 inquests waiting to be heard at the moment, which the Chief Constable of Cleveland Police has vowed to reduce.
Last year an investigation concluded Mr Sheffield wasn't to blame for the backlog.
He is the longest serving coroner in England and Wales having served on Teesside for more than four decades.
Teesside Labour MPs Tom Blenkinsop, Alex Cunningham, Andy McDonald and Iain Wright have written to Teesside Coroner, Michael Sheffield, calling on him to resign from his post,
My fellow Teesside MPs, Tom Blenkinsop, Andy McDonald, Iain Wright and I believe the latest report into the performance of the Coronial service on Teesside by Councillors in Middlesbrough supports our long held view that it is time you retired.
The report makes it clear that despite the Teesside service having above average resources, the performance was below average with bereaved families across the area facing longer waits than anyone else for inquests into the death of their loved ones to be completed.
This confirmed earlier information.
– Alex Cunningham, MP
“Others have added their voices to those of us who have already asked you to step down.
We confirm today that you do not enjoy our confidence and we do not believe that the service can recover and provide the level of service our constituents need and deserve.
We are aware that you are currently subject to an enquiry into your performance by the Office for Judicial Complaints but in the light of the latest report and the clear statistics around the time taken for inquests on Teesside, we would ask you to do the right thing for Teesside families and retire without further delay.”
Four North East MPs have renewed calls for Teesside's coroner to resign.
In an open letter on Alex Cunningham's website, he, Tom Blenkinsop, Andy McDonald and Iain Wright tell Michael Sheffield it would be in the best interests of people living on Teesside if he steps down.
At any one time 300 families have had to wait for inquests because of a backlog.
Mr Sheffield's lawyers say that the MPs did not take up an offer to meet with him but he is working to resolve the problem.
Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon has called for Teesside's coroner Michael Sheffield to resign, saying that he has brought the service "into disrepute."
It comes after a report found that there was a backlog of up to three hundred inquests at any one time and that the time families had to wait to find out how their loved ones had died was much higher than the national average.
Ray Mallon also revealed that he had had two private meetings with Michael Sheffield last month, and said that it was regrettable that he has been forced to make this public.
For the full report on this story you can watch our programme at six o'clock.