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Mesothelioma Victims

Volume 583: debated on Tuesday 1 July 2014

10. If he will take steps to ensure that mesothelioma victims do not have to pay legal costs from their damages. When the Government’s no win, no fee reforms apply to mesothelioma claims, it will be up to claimants’ lawyers whether they wish to charge their clients a success fee. There is no requirement for them to do so. (904572)

Given the revelation of the secret agreement between the Government and the Association of British Insurers to stitch up victims of mesothelioma, and the pathetic attempt to cover the tracks, will the Minister confirm his opposition to any non-transparent agreements or arrangements between the Government and commercial third parties that potentially negatively impact on mesothelioma sufferers’ compensation?

First, I put on the record the hon. Gentleman’s deep interest in this issue; he secured an Adjournment debate about it earlier this year, to which I responded. As for the so-called secret deal with the insurance industry, may I just say that there was no secret deal?

One of the factors that drives up costs is the problem of discovering documents relating to medical and HMRC records. What discussions is my hon. Friend having with other Departments to make sure that we can speed up the process of disclosure?

It is vital that we have the necessary discussions with other Departments. We are working on that, at pace, to ensure that we get the best possible outcome for those at the end of that chain.

Does it not tell us everything we want to know about this nasty Government—doing a rotten deal with Tory funders in the City to the detriment of dying people?

The hon. Gentleman does neither himself nor his party any credit by using such language. A document has been made public and no deal was done with it—that is the fact. It would help the House if the hon. Gentleman dealt with facts rather than supposition.