Second Reading

Part of Contaminated Blood (Support for Infected and Bereaved Persons) Bill [HL] – in the House of Lords at 12:20 pm on 11th December 2009.

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Photo of Lord Rooker Lord Rooker Labour 12:20 pm, 11th December 2009

My Lords, I intend to be incredibly brief in supporting my noble friend Lord Morris. I spoke on 23 April; I do not wish to repeat what I said then, everything still stands. I just wanted to be here today to give him support, so that the Department of Health knows that there are enough people prepared to get up on a Friday morning to come to support the issue, because it is not going to go away. I think that the Bill is a good idea. A Bill is always a good idea as a campaigning measure, particularly when it is one that one may possibly get through. It is a good vehicle.

I agree with all that has been said, and I reiterate a point made by the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin of Roding, which is to commend the unsung supporters of the measure who funded the inquiry. Obviously, I pay great tribute to my noble and learned friend Lord Archer; 35 years ago, I was his PPS. The funding, modest although it was, was necessary and important. The fact that we have the Bill proves-I shall be very careful about this-that, first, the Department of Health does not put patients first and that, secondly, we do not have the best health service in the world. If we had, we would not have the Bill; we would have dealt with the issue, as others have. Every time I hear that claim I am irritated by it, simply because of this case of what, to the centre, looks like a bunch of little people. As we heard from my noble friend on the radio this morning, the numbers are getting less. It will solve itself, this problem. That is the unspoken view in Whitehall at present. It is a complete lapse in the good standards of conduct of public administration in this country that we have got to this state. I hope that the Scottish inquiry will uncover more detailed evidence and paperwork that has been kept back than we have in England. Frankly, many of us do not believe what we have been told, but we cannot prove the contrary.