Contaminated Blood

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:58 pm on 12th April 2016.

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Photo of Peter Heaton-Jones Peter Heaton-Jones Conservative, North Devon 4:58 pm, 12th April 2016

I congratulate Diana Johnson on securing this debate and on the valuable work that her all-party parliamentary group is doing in this area.

All Members, I am sure, receive a huge number of letters and emails from constituents, and hold face-to-face meetings with them on a huge range of issues. Just occasionally, an email arrives that has the power to stop us in our tracks, simply demanding the wider attention of the whole House. On 2 June last year, just four weeks after being elected to this place for the first time, I received just such an email. It came from my constituent Sue Threakall, from Barnstaple. Mrs Threakall is with us in the Gallery this afternoon, one of many who have travelled long distances to be here today. I pay tribute to them all.

With her permission and with the leave of the House, I would like to read a short extract from the email I received from Mrs Threakall, which sums up better than I could the real human impact of this national tragedy:

“my late husband was a haemophiliac who”,

in the 1980s,

“was given contaminated blood and…died in 1991 with AIDS, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. His death ripped my family apart and to this day the effects are still there.”

Her children lead

“compromised lives compared to the ones they should have led. I have severe financial difficulties to this day, despite doing everything possible to help myself recover from a wrecked career as a…teacher, followed by retirement at 50 on a tiny pension. Since then I have worked in hospitals, but following three major surgeries in seven years have now more or less retired.

I have been campaigning for thirty years for truth and justice”.

Those are two crucial elements that we must discuss today: truth and justice.