Blair criticised for failure to meet Chinook campaigners

Tony Collins

Tony Collins

The prime minister was criticised in the House of Commons this week for not meeting a delegation of senior MPs and peers over the crash of a Chinook helicopter on the Mull of Kintyre in June 1994.

The criticism came as the defence secretary Geoffrey Hoon was asked in the Commons on Monday whether he would hold a new inquiry into the accident, which IT experts believe may be software related.

When Hoon refused, claiming that there was no new evidence, Tory MP Quentin Davies said, "The prime minister finds time to see a very strange group of people, from Bernie Ecclestone to Liam Gallagher. How come he could not find time to receive an all-party delegation from both Houses, including several privy councillors, who were seriously concerned that there may have been a breach of natural justice in this case?"

Hoon said, "The prime minister is engaged in this matter, and that he has answered a number of questions on this issue," but added that the prime minister would have to answer specific questions about meeting a delegation.

The exchange was prompted by Tory MP Desmond Swayne, who asked Hoon, "Given the volume of new evidence that has emerged, especially in connection with the software involved, and the number of eminent persons who have expressed disquiet about the verdict, is it not now time to reopen the matter?"

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