Contaminated Blood - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:04 pm on 29th January 2018.

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Photo of Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Lord Hunt of Kings Heath Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow Spokesperson (Education), Shadow Spokesperson (Health and Social Care) 6:04 pm, 29th January 2018

My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord for repeating that Answer. I remind the House that I did have some ministerial responsibility for this area some years ago. It has now been over six and a half months since the Government first committed to an inquiry into this tragedy. It is disappointing that we are still waiting for an inquiry chair to be appointed, but I have noted with a great deal of interest what the noble Lord said today. I echo, if I may, his tribute to the two co-chairs of the all-party group that he referred to.

The noble Lord said it is hoped that a chair will be appointed to the inquiry as soon as possible. Will he set out whether there is an outline timetable as to when the terms of reference will be agreed with the chair and when the formal setting-up date for the inquiry is likely to be decided? We know how important it is to get the terms of reference right. I understand that the people affected would like the chairman of the inquiry, and not the Minister, to consult with them on the terms of reference before they are formally set. Will the noble Lord give consideration to that? Will he also confirm that the terms of reference will cover the aftermath of the tragedy, as well as the run-up to it?