The Secretary of State recently met Diana Johnson MP and her constituent Tina Trowhill whose Action for Ashes Hull organisation represents parents in Hull. The Secretary of State expressed her deepest sympathy for all the parents who had not had their infants’ ashes returned to them after cremation and explained the government’s position.
The government is supportive of local investigations into historic infant cremation practices but does not plan to order such inquiries in Hull or elsewhere. Our clear priority since we received the Emstrey report in June 2015 has been to put measures in place across England and Wales to prevent such distressing infant cremation practice ever happening again. That is why we held a consultation which closed in March, announced our proposals in light of consultation responses in July, introduced a new statutory definition of ashes in October and have put in place a National Cremation Working Group of experts which is now advising us on more complex regulations and new statutory forms which will come into effect in 2017. The Working Group, which includes Action for Ashes Hull, will also assist us in developing new codes of practice, training and information for bereaved families.
Hull City Council has assured us that it has provided the information that it holds to all bereaved parents who have approached it about their babies’ cremations. This includes Jenni Murray, Angela Hughes and Louise Walker.