Martin Docherty MP has spoken out in support of veterans and their families who have been exposed to asbestos through their service in the armed forces.


During the debate on the Armed Forces Bill, Martin Docherty MP supported the following addition, numbered as ‘Clause 8’ to the Bill,


Within 12 months of the passing of this Act, the Secretary of State must commission a review of how former members of the armed forces who have contracted mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos in the course of their military service are compensated, and must lay the report of this review before both Houses of Parliament.


Speaking during the debate, Martin said,

“The constituency of West Dunbartonshire and Clydebank in particular has a clear, direct link with mesothelioma through shipbuilding. We see the daily impact of asbestos on the lives of communities, not just the people who were in contact with it in the shipyards—both men and women—but their families.

It is inexplicable to me that we might not wish to provide equal support for our armed forces personnel. I think particularly of naval personnel who have been involved in the lagging of ship hulls during tours of duty, but I think also of Army personnel who have been based in premises that were built with asbestos cement, and mechanics who have dealt with vehicles that were insulated with asbestos. They will have not only come into contact with blue or white asbestos dust during their working lives, but brought it into their home lives.

I hope that the Government will recognise [the clause’s] intentions, and will seek to ensure that at least some cross-party work is done to enable us to bring this to a conclusion. Enough is enough: asbestos-related conditions form a major part of my constituency work. I am grateful to Clydebank Asbestos Group, which for many years, and with the support of many of my predecessors, has continued to work with other asbestos-related groups.”


Note for Editors:

Link to Martin Docherty’s full contribution in Hansard: