Sir Brian Langstaff, a High Court judge in England, has just been announced as the Chair of the contaminated blood inquiry.
His formal tenure will begin on 1 May this year but in the meantime he is initiating a further consultation into the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office, David Lidington MP, has released as written statement to Parliament (shown below).
The statement is welcome BUT, again, it does not state the Inquiry will look at the aftermath and allegations of cover-up and wrong-doing by officials and others. This is a crucial aspect that requires to be addressed for the victims and their families to feel any sense of justice.
David Lidington’s written statment to Parliament:
“I am announcing today the appointment of Sir Brian Langstaff to head the public inquiry into the Infected Blood scandal. The inquiry will be established under the 2005 Inquiries Act, with full powers, including the power to compel the production of documents, and to summon witnesses to give evidence on oath.
In relation to the appointment of the Chair, the Lord Chief Justice was asked to recommend a judge who, in his view, would be best suited to the task. The Lord Chief Justice recommended Sir Brian Langstaff: a highly respected and hugely experienced High Court judge. I have accepted the Lord Chief Justice’s recommendation.
Sir Brian will be the full time Chair of the Inquiry from 1 May following his retirement from the High Court. However, in order that those who have been affected by this tragedy face no further undue delay, he will use the intervening period to conduct a further consultation on the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference
The infected blood scandal of the ’70s and ’80s was an appalling tragedy that should never have happened. The victims of this tragedy who have endured so much pain and hardship deserve answers. It is crucial that their views are properly reflected in the Inquiry’s Terms of Reference. He will want to listen carefully to the voices of those that have suffered before making a recommendation to me on what the scope of the Inquiry should be. I will return to Parliament with the final terms of reference as soon as this process has been completed.
The Government will ensure that the inquiry has the resources that it needs to complete its work. The Inquiry will, of course, also be independent of the Government.
It is very important that the Inquiry can identify why and how this tragedy occurred and provide answers for the all victims who have suffered so terribly, and can identify lessons to be learned so that a tragedy of this scale can never happen again.”
Diana Johnson, Co-Chair of the APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood released a statement and e-mailed SIBF earlier today:
In a Written Ministerial Statement which has just been published, the Government has announced that Sir Brian Langstaff, a High Court judge, will be the Chair of the contaminated blood inquiry.
I have just released a statement to the press on his appointment (see below). I expect to arrange an APPG meeting in the next few weeks once it is clearer how he will be engaging with the community affected, so expect a further email from me with meeting dates.
I would like to personally thank everyone affected for all you have done to get us to this historic stage in the campaign. I hope that with the appointment of a Chair, you and your families might soon get the answers and the justice which you have been denied for many decades. I also think this is a time of reflection on the many thousands who sadly lost their lives before this inquiry was announced.
Diana Johnson MP
Labour Member of Parliament for Hull North and Co-Chair of the APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood’
Diana Johnson MP, Labour Member of Parliament for Hull North and Co-Chair of the APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood, said:
“On behalf of the APPG on Haemophilia and Contaminated Blood, I am pleased that an announcement has been made appointing Sir Brian Langstaff to Chair the Contaminated Blood Inquiry.
“This is an historic moment which only came about as a result of decades of determined campaigning from all those affected. But we should also pause to reflect on the over 2,400 others who sadly lost their lives before this announcement was made.
“As the people affected by this tragedy have often said: this inquiry cannot give them back their health, but it can give them back their dignity. They know it will never bring back lost loved ones or reverse decades of neglect, but they are now putting their trust in Sir Brian Langstaff that he will leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of truth, answers and justice.
“To do this, I expect the Inquiry will want to put first and foremost the families impacted by this disaster; that it will receive the funding necessary to engage closely with those affected; and that the Minister will give the Chair the freedom to set the Terms of Reference independently, in consultation with those affected.”