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Parliamentary Oral Question (Correction)

Volume 525: debated on Friday 18 March 2011

I regret to inform the House that an answer I gave in response to a supplementary question about nuclear test veterans from the hon. Member for Scunthorpe (Nic Dakin) during Defence oral questions on 31 January 2011, Official Report, column 573, could have been misleading. I said:

“the courts have found there is no causal link whatever between many of the disabilities and illnesses suffered and any exposure to radiation”.

This statement could have been open to interpretation and I wrote to the hon. Member for Scunthorpe in response to a letter from him to clarify the position on 23 February. I also mentioned this to him when we met on 1 March. The position is that the Court of Appeal judgment in the Atomic Veterans Group litigation granted the Ministry of Defence’s appeal on limitation, not on causation. However, as part of this judgment, the Court said that the claimants have produced no evidence which begins to satisfy those usual causation requirements and that the general merits of the claims were extremely weak.