Trade unionists and MP’s from across the UK have called on the government to reverse a House of Lords decision which ended the right to compensation for the asbestos related injury pleural plaques.

At a lobby at the House of Commons on Tuesday (January 29) the Minister for the North East Nick Brown condemned the House of Lords ruling and pledged to seeing it overturned. He was joined in that commitment by Labour MPs from Manchester, Yorkshire, Scotland and London.

The demonstration was organised by GMB and chaired by Newcastle North MP Doug Henderson.

The Law Lords decision in October 2007 ended a right to compensation of up to £15,000 which has existed for 20 years. Pleural plaques whilst rarely causing immediate symptoms is a scarring of the lungs and is associated with an increased risk of developing fatal conditions like mesothelioma.

Pleural Plaques sufferers fear about developing mesothelioma

Many with pleural plaques tell of the worry and uncertainty it can cause, knowing that one day it may develop into the fatal cancer mesothelioma.

Ian McFall, head of asbestos policy at Thompsons Solicitors who acted for the trade union Unite in the battle with the insurers addressed the lobby and said: “There is a real feeling of injustice about the House of Lords decision.

“The Law Lords have dismissed the health fears of ordinary working people who have been told their lungs have been scarred by asbestos. At the same time they have saved the insurers (who happily took insurance premiums from the negligent employers) £1.4 billion.

“The Government should see this case for what it was - a cynical attempt by insurers to save money – and reverse the Law Lords ruling.”