Page last updated at 16:10 GMT, Tuesday, 15 April 2008 17:10 UK

MP fights Lords asbestos decision

Dr Ian Gibson
Dr Gibson said the number of asbestosis cases are high in the East

A Norfolk MP has launched a campaign to get compensation for people who are affected by asbestosis.

In October 2007, the Law Lords decided that scarring of the lungs should no longer be a compensatory illness.

Dr Ian Gibson, MP for Norwich North, has now started a campaign to overturn that decision.

The eastern region has one of the highest rates of death from the disease in the country, and that number is expected to peak by 2020.

Dr Gibson said the figures were particularly high in the East because of the nature of the region's industries and the amount of asbestos involved.

'Death sentence'

"Council houses had it, some of the factories used asbestos to prevent fires and also in the products they made, and of course there's been ship building," he said.

"And the families at home who washed the clothes the people used in the factories have also developed the lung cancer, called mesothelioma."

Dr Gibson said he was confident the campaign could overturn the decision.

"I think anybody who knows the history of health and safety does know that there is a problem with exposure to asbestos. I'd rather the workers got the compensation to better their lives than the widows get it," he said.

Eileen Warton, who lost her husband Brian to the lung disease five weeks ago, said: "People were told to go and do their job and they did it.

"They didn't realise while they were doing it there was all this asbestos dust - 20, 30, 40 years down the line, they'd got a death sentence hanging over them."


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