Daily Left News

There are growing calls for Tory peer Ken Clarke to be stripped of his peerage, after a damning report from the infected blood inquiry found that he had been dismissive and disparaging towards victims of the scandal when he was health secretary.

Clarke has come in for some scathing criticism in Sir Brian Langstaff’s damning report into the affair. Tens of thousands of people in the UK were infected with HIV and/or hepatitis after they were given contaminated blood and blood products between the 1970s and early 1990s.

Around 3,000 people have since died after receiving contaminated blood from the health service. It’s also been estimated that one person dies as a result of infected blood every four days.

The inquiry found that the scandal was not an accident and listed dozens of failures by the government and the NHS. These included, allowing the importation and distribution from 1973 of blood products made in the US and Austria which carried a high risk of causing hepatitis, using teenage boys “as objects for research” who were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated products and the deliberate destruction of documents and falsely reassuring the public and patients that blood didn’t carry Aids and hepatitis C.

Sir Brian concluded that ‘the infections happened because those in authority – doctors, the blood services and successive governments – did not put patient safety first.’

When Clarke was health secretary, he had said that there was “no conclusive proof” that HIV could be transmitted via blood products, despite clear scientific evidence that it could be.

He was accused in Sir Brian’s report of being ‘unfairly dismissive of, and disparaging towards, many who had suffered physically, mentally, socially and financially from what occurred’.

Des Collins, a solicitor representing 1,500 victims of the scandal, told the Telegraph: “He should have his peerage stripped.”

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

The post Calls for Ken Clarke to be stripped of his peerage over infected blood response appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.


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