REVEALED: MP Ken Clarke's Book Backlash over Contaminated Blood Scandal

Ken Clarke blood-book documents made public for the first time

In 2017 Factor 8 took action against Ken Clarke for comments made in his autobiography "Kind of Blue" about Haemophiliacs and the Contaminated Blood Scandal. The matter concluded following Ken Clarke's agreement to withdraw one of those comments, and on 23rd July 2017 The Mirror broke the story.

We are today presenting publicly the full response that was provided during this time as we believe the community have a strong interest in seeing that correspondence.

The above responses were received in light of the issues we had taken up with Ken Clarke and his book publishers. The issues were plenty, essentially the below excerpts from Mr Clarke's book, we alleged, are almost entirely inaccurate.

Very quickly, before our scientists and doctors appreciated that blood supplies needed to be treated to be safe, more than 1,200 haemophiliacs in Britain contracted HIV.

The haemophiliacs who spent the rest of their lives with this disease were eventually given compensation by John Major’s government. Not
surprisingly, they continued and still continue to campaign for more generous compensation for their suffering and to help them with the costs
of their illness. When I became the only health minister from that time still prominent in the public eye, these campaigners usually named me in their campaigns, because it improved their prospects of publicity.

In fact, I was not the minister responsible for blood products, which was regarded as a small specialist area of activity and was handled by Simon Glenarthur, a parliamentary undersecretary in the Lords. Simon behaved impeccably throughout the crisis but unfortunately he acted on the medical and scientific advice given to him which was not based on full knowledge of the dangers. Various public enquiries have subsequently been held into the victims’ claims, but Simon’s reputation has always emerged unscathed as he quite correctly acted conscientiously in the light of the scientific evidence available to him.
— Ken Clarke - A Kind of Blue

We keenly took issue on a variety of things, in particular, Mr Clarke's appraisal of Glenarthur, of which we presented the below evidence:

In relation to the third paragraph, our client disputes that it is correct that
Simon Glenarthur “behaved impeccably throughout the crisis”.

Mr Glenarthur was explicitly told of the dangers at a crucial period in 1983, and did not act as he should have done, causing further individuals to be affected by the Tainted Blood Scandal, including but not limited to:

- Simon Glenarthur admitted in a letter received by the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs in January 1984 that “the circumstantial evidence is strong” when referring to the risk of AIDS and that “surely it is of no consequence that the UK might become the
dumping ground of products made from plasma”.

- Despite being made aware by experts from the Association of Scientific, Technical and Managerial Staffs in 1983 and 1984 that the products imported posed a risk of AIDS, Simon Glenarthur continued to allow the importation of such products that infected people with HIV.

Although it is not necessarily against the law to say things that aren't true publicly. In this case, it should be.

Coming back to present day, Kenneth Clarke today gave comment to The Guardian for an article they have published on the Tainted Blood Scandal.

The allegations made by the victims of the blood products tragedy are completely inaccurate. I was not the secretary of state for health at the relevant time. I was a junior minister, as minister for health, and blood products were not one of my responsibilities.

In my opinion, victims have made attempts in recent years to bring me into their campaigns because I am the only person left who was at the Department of Health at the time and who is a minor celebrity still, so they could obtain more publicity for their complaints if they associated me with them. The two public inquiries that have been held so far have never seen the need to call me to give evidence because I have no close connection with the subject. I am of course waiting to see whether the new public inquiry that has been announced will wish to hear me, but I really do not think I will be able to tell them anything particularly relevant to the subject from my own first-hand experience.
— MP Kenneth Clarke
Factor 8