Daniel Bentley - Parliamentary Correspondent

The government has been forced to remove controversial proposals to allow trial without jury in complex fraud cases from a Bill aimed at simplifying fraud prosecutions.

The move was to avoid delaying the whole package of anti-fraud measures contained in the Fraud Bill, which includes a single offence of fraud.

The Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, revealed that a new Bill would be introduced at a later date to deal exclusively with the implementation of Section 43 of the Criminal Justice Act.

This would allow judges to sit without a jury for what Lord Goldsmith insists would be a "small number" of complex fraud cases.

His decision to decouple the proposal for non-jury trials from the Fraud Bill is a tacit admission that the government faces serious difficulties in getting the measure through Parliament.

Lord Goldsmith said: "It is clear that there is no immediate prospect of those discussions bearing fruit and leading to a compromise position which delivers the necessary improvements to the efficacy of fraud trials.

"In those circumstances, it cannot be right to delay this modest but desirable [Fraud] Bill any longer."

A new Bill implementing Section 43 would be brought forward "as soon as Parliamentary time allows", he said.

But if the House of Lords - where the government has no majority - remains steadfast in its opposition, the legislation could be held up for as long as two years.