ROMSEY'S MP was one of 22 Conservatives who voted for a Labour amendment to hasten efforts to compensate victims of the infected blood scandal.

Caroline Nokes rebelled last night to support the amendment requiring ministers to establish a body to administer the full compensation scheme within three months of the Victims and Prisoners Bill becoming law.

The proposal, tabled by Labour former minister Dame Diana Johnson, was approved by 246 votes to 242, majority four, prompting cheers in the Commons chamber, on Monday, December 4. 

The defeat came despite a last-ditch attempt by the Government to offer concessions in a bid to placate MPs.

Mrs Nokes told the Advertiser that the issue had been raised by constituents when she was first elected in 2010.

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Hampshire Chronicle: Caroline Nokes

She said: “I am very conscious that here in Romsey we are relatively close geographically to Treloars, where a significant proportion of pupils were given infected blood in the late 70s and early 80s. These included the son of a constituent of mine, who was infected with both HIV and Hepatitis C. Although he is still alive he has lived his entire life impacted both physically and mentally, and lost the vast majority of class mates who were given the same contaminated blood products.

“I have also met constituents who received contaminated factor 8 in hospital, and have lived ever since with Hepatitis C. That is a debilitating condition which has left many unable to work or lead a normal life. 

“So last night I voted for Dame Diana Johnson’s amendment, to make sure that families who have lived with this terrible and avoidable tragedy get the compensation they are owed in a timely manner. 

“In politics you have to have the courage to stand up for what is right, and I have no doubt that I did that yesterday. I know some may wish to criticise me for being a rebel, but these families have waited far too long.”

Justice minister Edward Argar had said the Government would amend the Bill in the Lords to establish the necessary structure and timescales for a delivery body to provide compensation.

But he outlined that the Government would still not act until the final report from the independent Infected Blood Inquiry has been published.

The inquiry into the scandal was due to publish its final report this autumn but the document will now be published in March 2024 due to the “sheer volume and scale of the material”.

Under an initial compensation scheme, only victims themselves or bereaved partners can receive an interim payment of around £100,000.

MPs have urged swifter action given it is estimated someone affected by infected blood dies “every four days”.

Thousands of patients were infected with HIV and hepatitis C through contaminated blood products in the 1970s and 1980s.