Ken Clarke has ‘questions to answer’ over infected blood scandal

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Former health secretary Lord Ken Clarke has been criticised for his handling of the contaminated blood scandal by a Conservative colleague.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride said Lord Clarke needed to answer “very serious questions” over his involvement in the 1980s.

Mr Stride’s criticism comes after the final report of the Infected Blood Inquiry accused Lord Clarke of “misleading” the public and rebuked him for his “combative style” when he gave oral evidence to the probe.

Lord Clarke has been contacted by the BBC for comment about the scandal, which saw 30,000 people infected with HIV and hepatitis between 1970 and 1991.

Campaigners have demanded an apology from the veteran Conservative, who was health secretary from 1988 to 1990, amid calls for him to lose his peerage.

Asked if he feels Lord Clarke has questions to answer, Mr Stride told Sky News: “There are clearly questions that are being posed, very serious questions, and to that degree indeed there are questions that need to be addressed.”

He also said stripping Lord Clarke of his peerage is a matter for the relevant committee.

Mr Stride told the broadcaster: “I think some have been calling for his knighthood to be removed. That’s a matter for the forfeiture committee, not for Government or me really, I think, to opine on that level.”

He added many groups of people had “come out of this report very badly”.

Others criticised in the report include former prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and Sir John Major, as well as haemophiliac specialist Prof Arthur Bloom and the NHS.

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