New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker [Dame Eleanor Laing]. May I congratulate you on your own gallant and good-humoured campaign to be Speaker?

I must congratulate my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State on being so proactive in responding to this shocking discovery that Thomas Cook did not properly insure so many people against injury while being on a Thomas Cook holiday. Am I right in thinking that there would have been no way in which this would have come out but for the collapse of the company? If it turns out to be the case that the company was not breaking any existing rules, regulations or laws by behaving in this totally irresponsible and inhumane way, will it be possible to make a change in the law to ensure that this can never happen again?

[The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Andrea Leadsom): I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his recognition of the fact that it felt important to raise this before the House prior to Dissolution. He is absolutely right. In doing so, we seek to provide some sort of reassurance to those who have been profoundly impacted by accidents and illnesses overseas on Thomas Cook holidays. He asked whether there could have been any legitimate expectation that this might have happened. That is not the case. It was never anticipated that a business such as Thomas Cook would not have adequately provided for such claims that were known to them. I am putting on notice today that any future Government – I am sure that the Opposition spokesman has made a similar commitment – will wish to resolve this to ensure that it cannot happen again. BEIS officials will work over the next few weeks to bring forward proposals on how to ensure that this cannot be repeated.]