Charlie Gard's parents: "There's nothing to lose"

Charlie's parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates
Charlie's parents Chris Gard and Connie Yates
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The parents of terminally ill baby Charlie Gard have pleaded for their son to be given 'a chance' in an emotional press conference outside Great Ormond Street Hospital today.

Connie Yates and Chris Gard spoke to reporters outside the hospital on Sunday afternoon.

The 11-month-old's parents have been in a protracted legal battle with hospital doctors, who said the experimental treatment the couple have argued Charlie should receive abroad will not help.

Calling for her son to be be given the medication, Ms Yates told reporters: "He's our son, he's our flesh and blood. We feel that it should be our right as parents to decide to give him a chance at life."

She added: "There is nothing to lose, he deserves a chance."

Ms Yates said the oral medicine they want for Charlie has an "up to 10% chance of working" and has "no known major side effects".

Mr Gard said there is no evidence Charlie has "catastrophic brain damage".

He added: "He should have had this chance a long time ago now.

"They said that it wasn't fair to leave him on the ventilator for three months for a treatment they didn't think was going to work.

"He's now been left for seven months with no treatment."

Ms Yates added: "If he's still fighting, we're still fighting."

The couple were speaking after two United States congressmen said they would table legislation to give Charlie and his family US resident status in a bid to allow them to travel there for experimental treatment.

Justice Secretary David Lidington said the Government had "no role to play" in the case.

Asked if it was right that judges could overrule the wishes of Charlie's parents, Mr Lidington told Sky News's Ridge On Sunday: "It is right that judges interpret the law, independently and dispassionately.

"As ministers and as a Government we have no role to play in the Charlie Gard case, as would be the case in any other proceeding in court."

He added: "I do not envy the judges who are having to take decisions on this.

"It must be incredibly pressured - probably emotional, under the judicial professionalism, a really emotional, heart-wrenching case for them to have to decide.

"But they are independent, they know their duty is to decide the case on the basis of what they genuinely consider to be in the best interests of Charlie himself."

The couple, both in their 30s and from Bedfont, west London, want to take their son to a hospital in the US for nucleoside treatment.

However, they lost a lengthy legal battle after judges ruled in favour of doctors at GOSH.

Under a High Court ruling, the hospital is forbidden from allowing Charlie to be transferred for nucleoside therapy anywhere.

The case will go back to the High Court on Monday to hear fresh arguments following claims of "new information" from researchers at the Vatican's children's hospital.

Thanking supporters, Mr Gard said: "Let's get Charlie the treatment he needs."

The couple delivered a petition to the hospital of more than 350,000 signatures, calling on doctors at GOSH to allow Charlie to receive experimental treatment abroad.

Supporters, some of whom had travelled from the US, held banners and placards reading "Save Charlie Gard".

Rev Patrick Mahoney, addressing supporters and media before the family statement, said he was pleased to be able to visit Charlie a day earlier.

The pastor, who flew in from Washington DC, said: "He is a beautiful child, a wonderful child. I felt like taking him and holding him in my arms."

Gregory Mertz of pro-life organisation Citizen Go helped organise the petition and said it gained signatures from countries including Italy and Brazil.