Rights of Relatives to Damages (Mesothelioma) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 3

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:09 pm on 21st March 2007.

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Photo of Eleanor Scott Eleanor Scott Green 3:09 pm, 21st March 2007

In my brief speech, I will record my party's support for the bill. This is a short, circumscribed but very important bill, which, because it has received support from all parties, will probably not make any headlines in tomorrow's newspapers.

I, too, pay tribute to everyone who has been involved: Des McNulty, whose member's bill received Green support; the parliamentary committees that dealt with the matter; and, of course, the mesothelioma sufferers and their families who have campaigned for so long.

It is a good day when the Parliament is able to right a wrong. It was wrong that 80 per cent of mesothelioma sufferers were not pursuing their claims in order to protect the financial situation of their loved ones in the future. The bill will remove that anomaly and enable sufferers and their families to make choices together about compensation, without risking the family's access to compensation in the future. I commend the speed and the consensus with which the Executive and the Justice 1 Committee worked on the amendments on retrospection at stage 2. The Green party supported those amendments as well.

There is so much consensus that I shall not use my four minutes—I simply wanted to put my party's voice on the record. We are about 10 days away from dissolution. During the election campaign, we may well be asked what difference the Parliament has made to people's lives in Scotland. Well, here is one instance in which the Parliament has righted a wrong and made a real difference to people's lives. My party supports the bill whole-heartedly and will vote for it at decision time.