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Office for Product Safety and Standards — [Sir David Amess in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:18 pm on 9th May 2018.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 3:18 pm, 9th May 2018

As always, it is a pleasure to speak in a Westminster Hall debate, Sir David. I congratulate Carolyn Harris, who always speaks with a real passion and belief in what she says. I commend her for that. I always look forward to debates that she is involved in. It is because of her that we have this debate and are able to speak in it, so I thank her for that. I also thank all the hon. Members who have made contributions and the Front-Bench spokespersons for the Scottish National party and for the Labour party who will speak later. I believe their contributions will be significant as well. I am sure that the Minister, who is taking notes, will take on board Members’ questions and concerns, and I hope that we can obtain some reassurance from him as to how things stand.

I received a briefing from Electrical Safety First, a charity dedicated to reducing the number of deaths, injuries and fires from domestic electrical accidents, and I commend it and fully support it. We should note its recommendations, and the hard work that the charity does. Over the years I have debated this topic, including in Adjournment debates in the main Chamber with Andy Slaughter, among others, and it keeps coming back. That is because there seem to be continual problems with electrical safety. Electricity causes more than 20,000 house fires a year; that is almost half of all accidental house fires. Every year in the UK, around 350,000 people are injured through contact with electricity and 70 people are killed.

An example, if anyone needs a reminder, of what electricity can do when it goes wrong, is the Whirlpool case. I spoke in the debate on that matter obtained by the hon. Member for Hammersmith. I remember the debate well, and the issue even better. Afterwards I learned from one of my constituents who had such a dryer that she had been told to stay in and watch the dryer when it was in use. I nearly fell off my chair when I heard that. It is an unusual and strange thing to say: “Don’t watch TV; watch your dryer.”