INQUIRY: Decision was courageous

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I take exception to the comments by MP Alan Campbell in his Window on Westminster article, (News Guardian, July 27).

Referring to the fact that the issue of contaminated blood goes back to the 1970s and 80s he points out that ‘the government has ducked the issue to the frustration of Parliament and patients alike’, and ‘has failed to live up to its expectations’.

He conveyed the impression that he was personally instrumental in forcing the government to call a public enquiry.

Let us remember that Labour was in power for 13 years and did nothing for the victims of this scandal, and nor did any previous Labour administration.

Furthermore, Mr Campbell has been an MP for 20 years. Being a fair-minded person, I checked whether he has made any speeches on the issue in the House of Commons and found that he had not.

The key campaigners have been Diana Johnson, Labour MP for Hull, and Andy Burnham, the former Labour MP who is now mayor of Greater Manchester.

In his final speech to the Commons, Mr Burnham said he had been contacted by victims and families who believed medical records had been falsified to obscure the scandal, saying there was evidence of ‘a criminal cover-up on an industrial scale’.

Such allegations were fundamental to the government’s decision to establish an enquiry because it wanted to examine new evidence which had come to light and to investigate allegations of potential criminality.

That is why the Prime Minister has ordered an inquiry.

Labour MP Diana Johnson paid tribute to the Prime Minister for setting up the enquiry.

She said: “The Prime Minister has earned a place in history as someone who listened on an issue that many had ignored and put party politics aside in the cause of giving people their basic right to answers.”

More than 2,400 people with Hepatitis C and HIV died after receiving contaminated blood transfusions, mostly in the 1970s and 80s.

The victims and their families who have suffered so much pain and hardship deserve better than Mr Campbell’s remarks.

Fortunately, thanks to the Prime Minister’s courageous decision, they will finally begin their quest for justice.

Jean McLaughlin