Andrew Bingham MP

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Government concession on Mesothelioma

As readers of the column will remember from last week, I raised the issue of Mesothelioma and my objection to the Governments intention of removing the 'No Win No Fee' option of legal action for sufferers of the condition.

As I explained in last week's column, Mesothelioma is a condition brought about by the exposure to asbestos. Recent figures showed that the High Peak has a higher than average incidence of the condition. Because of this I felt compelled to rebel against the Government Whip and voted against its plans, instead supporting an amendment laid in the Lords.

At the time of writing last week's column, the matter had returned to the Lords for their further consideration. At this point, in many cases the Lords will drop their amendment. However on the Mesothelioma issue they did not, and maintained their stance. I and other colleagues had talks with Ministers and their Parliamentary Private Secretaries to press our case and I was delighted when our stance was rewarded by a Government concession. 

The Government has now agreed that the legislation contained in Legal Aid Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill will not now apply to Mesothelioma cases from next April as was originally intended. Instead the Lord Chancellor will conduct a study into the issue and then produce a report of his findings.

So whilst the rebellion was small, with just a few of us, the power of our argument and through private discussions we made a difference that I hope will provide a benefit to people in the High Peak.

 

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