You will have heard in the news recently that the Prime Minister has ordered an inquiry into the Contaminated Blood scandal of the 1970s & 80s; where those receiving NHS blood products (mainly haemophiliacs and those with bleeding disorders) were infected with HIV and/or Hep C.

The human cost and scale of this tragedy is vast. Published data and scientific studies have estimated that around 4,700 people with bleeding disorders (such as haemophilia), and around 28,000 other people who were exposed to hepatitis C, as well as around 1,200 people with bleeding disorders and 100 other individuals were infected with HIV through treatment with NHS-supplied blood products or blood transfusions in the UK. Many of those infected with HIV were also infected with hepatitis C and 80% of them have since died. It is impossible to exaggerate the sheer misery caused by this scandal; this is one of the biggest treatment disasters in the history of the NHS.

Whenever public disasters of this kind take place, the Government has a fundamental duty to support those affected in getting the answers they need. For many decades the victims in this scandal have not been able to access the information to address their concerns or call to account the officials involved

The campaign for justice in this matter was first brought to my attention over 10 years when I met a constituent who had been affected. Since that time I have worked with colleagues across all parties to seek answers to the questions that victims had, and to try and obtain proper compensation for the misery they and their families had endured during this scandal.

Over the years, different Governments have made changes and improved the support being offered to those infected and their families, but major questions remained unanswered. Recently, new evidence and allegations of potential criminality have come forward and it is important to get to the truth of what has happened. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, has rightly made the decision that an Inquiry must now be held and that it is important to understand the extent of what is claimed and the wider issues that arise.

The Government has committed to talk with those affected and their families to decide the most appropriate form for the inquiry and who should chair it. I will continue to work with my constituents who are affected by this to engage with and support the new inquiry and hope that finally it will achieve the justice and answers that victims deserve.