Hull MP backed by six party leaders in call for blood inquiry

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SIX party leaders have signed a letter calling on Theresa May to set up a Hillsborough-style inquiry into blood contamination in a move led by Hull North MP Diana Johnson.

The letter argues recent revelations pointing to possible criminal conduct on the part of officials makes a full inquiry necessary into the events which saw patients infected with HIV and hepatitis from NHS-supplied blood products.

Latest estimates suggest more than 2,400 people have died as a result of the scandal.

The letter to Mrs May is signed by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Lib Dem leader Tim Farron as well as their DUP, Green, SNP and Plaid Cymru counterparts.

It says: "We believe those affected have a right to know what went wrong; and why. Whenever public disasters of this kind take place, Government has a fundamental duty to support those affected in getting the answers they need; to disclose everything they know; and to ensure that officials are called to account for their actions.

"We regret that for many decades the victims of the contaminated blood scandal have been denied this right.

"The meagre efforts at investigating this scandal in the UK pale in comparison to those carried out in other countries - where we have seen fines, and even prosecutions, of the officials and companies responsible."

Ms Johnson has long campaigned on behalf of the victims of the blood contamination scandal and their families and challenged the Prime Minister on the issue in the Commons last week.

The Hull MP said the Commons had previously been presented with "compelling evidence" of a criminal cover-up "on an industrial scale" and asked Mrs May for a public inquiry.

The Prime Minister said the Department of Health would look into the matter.

Earlier this year, Andy Burnham used his last Commons speech as Leigh MP to highlight what he described as a "very disturbing echo" between the contaminated blood scandal and the events surrounding the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

He suggested documents showed that patients had been used as "guinea pigs", that medical records were altered and that some victims were the subject of "smears" in an attempt to cover up what had happened.