Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

PM Urged to Act on Asbestos; HOPE FOR LUNG DISEASE VICTIMS

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

PM Urged to Act on Asbestos; HOPE FOR LUNG DISEASE VICTIMS

Article excerpt

Byline: WILL GREEN

GORDON Brown will today face crunch talks with MPs demanding justice for victims of pleural plaques.

The Prime Minister and Justice Secretary Jack Straw will be under intense pressure at the meeting after Mr Brown yesterday admitted a "resolution" was needed to help sufferers of the asbestos-related condition.

The developments come as last-ditch efforts are made to get legislation through Parliament to overturn a 2007 Law Lords ruling that snatched the right to compensation for victims of pleural plaques - a scarring of the lungs caused by exposure to asbestos.

The legislation has already passed through the Commons, but now faces a time squeeze in the Lords before the current session of Parliament ends in a few weeks.

Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn challenged Mr Brown at Prime Minister's Questions as The Chronicle campaign to get justice for hundreds of pleural plaques victims on Tyneside continues to win widespread support.

The Labour MP asked: "Will the Prime Minister ensure that any announcement by the Justice Secretary on pleural plaques ensures the commitment to compensate pleural plaques victims from the past, the present and the future?" Mr Brown said he recognised "anxieties" that people diagnosed with pleural plaques had and highlighted the large amount of medical inquiries into this "very big" issue.

"I know too that those who end up suffering from asbestosis suffer from one of the worst and most painful diseases imaginable and it is right that we have the proper compensation in place for them.

"I am looking forward to meeting him (Stephen Hepburn) and a group of MPs tomorrow to discuss this very issue with the Justice Secretary.

"It is important that after the legislation that has come before the House of Commons that we get a resolution to this soon," the Prime Minister added. …

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