On the 13th October 2016, Peter Dowd contributed to the House of Commons discussion on Hormone pregnancy tests. Here is his contribution.
It was fantastic to hear that compelling speech by my hon. Friend the Member for Garston and Halewood (Maria Eagle). A theme is developing. One thing we have learned in this country time and again from many public inquiries into various issues is the need to ensure that the victims of injustice, the survivors and their families have an opportunity to have their say, in whatever format, in as transparent and open a way as possible, with no regulatory or industry cosying-up.
The second thing we have learned is that we need to bend over backwards and go the extra mile to ensure that the victims, or those speaking on their behalf, have full confidence in the mechanism set up to seek out the truth behind what has occurred. How many times have we in this country failed to investigate such matters properly, only to have to revisit them and reach the conclusion that those seeking justice were right in the first place? It often seems as though a blanket is deliberately drawn over difficult and challenging issues, to prevaricate and procrastinate until those affected are worn out, worn down or die. Institutions live on; people do not. It is a cynical game of cat and mouse. The victim is the mouse, but often it is the mouse that roars. In this case, it roars “No cover-up!”
After all the miscarriages of justice that have occurred in this country over the years, do we really have to drag institutions and organisations kicking into the light of an examination? How has it come to this? Have we learned no lessons from the history of all those inquiries? Are our institutions so arrogant that they feel immune to the democratic process, to scrutiny and to accountability? What has it come to when this House has to consider such a motion from my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton South East (Yasmin Qureshi)? We should not have to be here doing this today.
My hon. Friend has done a remarkable job on behalf of the people affected by this scandal. That is what it is—a scandal, pure and simple. She has been tenacious in pursuing the matter on behalf of the families affected by this sorry tale of incompetence and deficiency and a lack of will to put it to the test. In her, those families have a doughty champion. She and my hon. Friends the Members for Garston and Halewood, for Makerfield (Yvonne Fovargue) and for Stalybridge and Hyde (Jonathan Reynolds), and the hon. Member for Livingston (Hannah Bardell), have today laid out the inadequacies of the process so far. I do not want to repeat what they have said. They could not have been any clearer, any more forensic or any more passionate. However, I will make just two brief points.
First, I want to express my continued support for my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton South East and for the families affected, some of whom are my constituents. I am grateful for the work that she has done on their behalf so far. There is no time for subtlety in this regard, so secondly, I want to say that if the people in the institutions who have been given the task of getting to the bottom of this issue, paid for by the taxpayer—and, yes, by the families who are here today—are not prepared to carry out that task to the full satisfaction of the thousands of people affected, namely the victims, they should move aside and let others, who want to expose the inadequacies of a system that has left those people adrift for decades, get on with the job.
Enough is enough. I hope and trust that the Minister will hear the just and reasonable pleas of our constituents, and that he will take this motion and away and put it into effect, to the letter and in spirit. This injustice has gone on for 40 years, and it is time to draw a line under it. It is time to give closure and peace to the victims and their families. Anything less would be a betrayal of our duty and of our constituents.