Prime Minister called to inquiry

Written by Jessica Bomford, July 4, 2023

Rishi Sunak, the Prime Minister, and Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor, have been called to give evidence to Sir Brian Langstaff, Chair of the Infected Blood Inquiry, later this month.

The inquiry announced it would re-open its hearings, following widespread frustration at the apparent lack of government progress towards a full compensation scheme, as recommended by Sir Brian in April.

Beginning Monday 24 July, there will be evidence from Penny Mordaunt MP, who was the Paymaster General, the minister with responsibility for the inquiry, between 2020-2021. When she was replaced in that role, she signed off on Twitter: ‘No longer your minister, still on your team.’

She is followed on 25 July by the current Paymaster General Jeremy Quin MP and Shona Dunn, Second Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Care.

Mr Sunak will give evidence at 2pm on 26 July and Mr Hunt will appear at 2pm on 28 July.

Mr Sunak is the only serving Prime Minister to give evidence to the inquiry. Former PM, Sir John Major, gave evidence in June 2022. This will be Mr Hunt’s second appearance at the inquiry. Last July he told Sir Brian that it was a ‘huge failing of democracy’ that victims of the contaminated blood scandal had waited so long for justice.

Registration to attend the hearings is open until Thursday 6 July.

Frustration growing

There has been growing frustration at the lack of progress following the publication of Sir Brian’s recommendations on compensation in April. His main recommendation was that ‘a compensation scheme should be set up now and should begin work this year’.

Last month there was a debate on the issue in the House of Commons during which Mr Quin caused great stress and anxiety when he said the government had ‘not made a final decision’ on compensation.

This week the Haemophilia Society, Haemophilia Scotland and Haemophilia Northern Ireland, along with some campaign groups, wrote to Mr Sunak asking him to honour the inquiry’s recommendations by paying full compensation to those infected and affected by contaminated blood and blood products.

Meeting to discuss next steps

We’re holding a Zoom meeting on Thursday, 13 July at 6.30pm to talk about our next steps in the campaign to get full compensation paid. This will include a discussion about how to make the most of the likely media interest in Mr Sunak’s evidence. Everyone is welcome, please join us.

If you have any questions, contact our Public Inquiry Team at [email protected].