Contaminated blood scandal: High Court judge to lead inquiry

An inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal will provide "well-needed answers" to victims and their families, the judge leading it has vowed.

Mr Justice Langstaff will be the full-time chairman of the inquiry from May 1 after retiring from the High Court.

He promised a "thorough examination of the evidence" behind the "major scandal" which saw thousands die after being given transfusions of tainted blood.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced last year that an inquiry would be held into the events of the 1970s and 1980s, which left around 2,400 people dead.

Thousands of haemophiliacs and other patients were given blood products infected with hepatitis C and HIV.

Mr Justice Langstaff said: "Providing infected blood and plasma products to patients truly deserves to be called a major scandal.

"I intend through this inquiry to be able to provide both some well-needed answers to the victims and their families, and recommend steps to ensure that its like will never happen again.

"Nothing less than a thorough examination of the evidence will suffice, and the process needs to lead to a full report within the shortest timescales that such thoroughness can accommodate."

He will consult people affected by the scandal and the families of victims on the inquiry's terms of reference before taking the role full time.

His appointment was announced by Cabinet Office minister David Lidington, who said: "The infected blood scandal of the 1970s and 1980s is a tragedy that should never have happened. We must now ensure it can never happen again.

"I am determined that this independent inquiry will give victims and their families the answers they have spent decades waiting for."

Liz Carroll, chief executive of the Haemophilia Society, said: "This scandal devastated a generation of people with haemophilia. Today's announcement is an important step towards truth and justice for those families."