MPs raise concerns over House of Lords actions on asbestos compensation
Feb 7, 2008 - Times and Star
COPELAND MP Jamie Reed has criticised the House of Lords for denying hundreds of West Cumbrian victims compensation for an asbestos-related disease.
MPs from all parties have been lobbying ministers to overturn a decision last year where insurance firms, facing a £1bn bill, won a Law Lords ruling that they were not liable because pleural plaques - a scarring of the lungs - had no symptoms and was not a disease.
The Government has so far refused to overturn the decision, but MPs believe it could be forced into a change.
After a mass lobby in Parliament on Tuesday night, Mr Reed said MPs needed to step-up their campaign and get the decision overturned.
Mr Reed said: “I find the decision of the House of Lords regarding pleural plaques hard to take and even harder to understand.
“I have received a huge number of letters from constituents suffering from this complaint.
“For the Law Lords to rule that pleural plaques does not have symptoms and is a non-compensation injury is quite incredible.
“The people affected by this condition, almost all of whom will be working class people injured in the course of their working lives, have a solid, justifiable case.
“This is a gross miscarriage of justice. These people – hundreds of them from across West Cumbria – deserve better.”
Mr Reed, Labour, is to meet colleagues and ministers to push the case for legislation “addressing the failure of the House of Lords”.
At least 160 people in Cumbria have died from asbestos-related disease since 2000.