Keir Starmer calls for duty of candour law after blood scandal

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In his report, external on the infected blood scandal, which saw 30,000 people infected from contaminated blood treatments, Sir Brian Langstaff criticised the “defensive culture” in the civil service and government that he said had fuelled a cover-up.

He called on the government to introduce a “statutory duty of accountability on senior civil servants for the candour and completeness of advice given to permanent secretaries and ministers, and the candour and completeness of their response to concerns raised by members of the public and staff”.

His call has been backed by senior Tory MPs, including former ministers Sir David Davis and Jackie Doyle-Price.

At PMQs, Rishi Sunak said: “It’s important that the government takes time to fully digest the gravity of the findings of the report.

“The wrongs which have been committed are devastating and life-altering for so many. Ensuring nothing like this ever happens again is a priority.”

Sir Keir said a lack of candour had been a failing in “injustice after injustice – from Grenfell to Horizon, Hillsborough and now infected blood”.

“The story is familiar. Concerns raised but ignored, reports written but not acted on, victims and their families campaigning for years just to be heard,” he said.

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