The UK Government has made a further announcement regarding the UK-wide public inquiry into contaminstqaed blood.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing today: “The inquiry will be conducted under the responsibility of the Cabinet Office rather than by the Department of Health with immediate effect.”
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said the first secretary of state, Damian Green, would post a written ministerial statement later today (3rd Nov ’17) giving details about the inquiry.
Diana Johnson MP, Co- Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) into haempophilia and contaminated blood has issued a press release, which the trustees of the Scottish Infected Blood Forum agree with. It is disclosed below in full:
Diana Johnson MP, Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood, said:
“I welcome the Government’s confirmation that the Department of Health will not be the sponsoring body for the contaminated blood inquiry; and that it will be a statutory inquiry under the 2005 Inquiries Act. This shows that the Prime Minister has listened to the overwhelming and unanimous opposition to this inquiry being led by a Department so implicated in this disaster.
I would particularly like to thank the Rt. Rev. James Jones KBE the former Bishop of Liverpool for his very helpful intervention with the Government on behalf of those affected.
However, as set out in an APPG statement to the PM on 3rd October, four further commitments must urgently be made to ensure that the inquiry truly achieves justice for those affected:
Firstly, we need clarity that the Department’s involvement will be strictly limited to providing evidence as an implicated party. They cannot be involved in the funding of the inquiry in any way, nor have any say over appointing the Chair, Panel or setting the Terms of Reference. Nor can they oversee any response to the consultation on the inquiry.
Secondly, this statutory inquiry must use its full powers to compel witnesses and hear evidence under oath. It must not be inhibited in its functions by the possibility of criminal liability being inferred. It must be led by a wider Panel of experts, alongside a Chair.
Thirdly, the inquiry Terms of Reference must cover the aftermath of the tragedy as well as the run-up to infection. This includes the allegations of a criminal cover-up on an industrial scale.
Finally, this inquiry must follow the “families first” approach of Hillsborough and other investigations. Those affected need to be consulted on the Chair, Panel and Terms of Reference. They need an inquiry that works with them through a process of truth and reconciliation.
Provided these commitments are made, we are confident that an inquiry Chair can be appointed by the end of this month; and that the thousands of people affected may finally achieve justice for this appalling tragedy.”