Ken Clarke Facing Calls To Be Stripped Of His Peerage Over Infected Blood Response

The former Tory cabinet minister was criticised in the report into the scandal.
Ken Clarke was made a life peer after leaving the Commons.
Ken Clarke was made a life peer after leaving the Commons.
ISABEL INFANTES via Getty Images

Former Tory health secretary Ken Clarke is facing calls to be stripped of his peerage over his handling of the infected blood scandal in the 1980s.

The peer came in for strong criticism in Sir Brian Langstaff’s damning report into the affair, which was published yesterday.

Tens of thousands of NHS patients were infected with HIV and hepatitis B and C after being treated in the 1970s, 80s and 90s with contaminated blood products imported from the United States. More than 3,000 of them have died so far.

Rishi Sunak said the publication of the report was “a day of shame for the British state” and vowed that the government will pay “whatever it costs” to compensate those affected.

When he was health secretary, Lord Clarke said there was “no conclusive proof” that HIV could be transmitted via blood products, despite clear scientific evidence that it could be.

Sir Brian accused him of being “unfairly dismissive of, and disparaging towards, many who had suffered physically, mentally, socially and financially from what occurred”.

He said the peer’s evidence to the inquiry in 2021 had been “combative” and “argumentative”.

At one point, Lord Clarke claimed he had been falsely linked to the scandal “because I later became a well-known” figure.

Des Collins, a solicitor representing 1,500 victims of the scandal, told the Telegraph: “He should have his peerage stripped.”

Work and pensions secretary Mel Stride described Lord Clarke as “a decent and nice man” but said it was up to the Forefeiture Committee to decide whether he should lose his peerage, which he was given by Boris Johnson in 2020.

refused to be drawn on calls for his peerage to be removed.

Stride told LBC: “Sir Brian has come forward with some very strong observations of Ken, in the context of the blood scandal, and clearly there are questions that I’ve no doubt Ken will be addressing in time”


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