HEALTH – THALIDOMIDE VICTIMS – 14 January 2010

Dr Julian Lewis: The hon. Member for Staffordshire, Moorlands (Charlotte Atkins) has just expressed in a far more eloquent way than I could the very point that I wanted to make. I shall make the point nevertheless, because it cannot be said too often. We talk about the victims, the tragedy and the people who have campaigned, but all too often we fail to talk about the mental strength and sheer moral courage of every single thalidomide victim who has had to cope with this disability from the moment of their birth. It is very important that we should pay tribute to the courage that every one of those people has shown. I am in awe of it.

[The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. Mike O'Brien): I entirely agree with the hon. Gentleman about the mental strength and moral courage of many thalidomiders. I have seen that in my contact with them. May I add that there is sometimes a tendency for people who are physically able to feel somewhat sorry for people who have disabilities. When confronted by the robustness of Nick Dobrik, who has negotiated much of this arrangement and was recently reported in the Sunday Times as saying that sometimes he feels like Superman, one realises that people do not feel sorry for Nick. He has some disabilities, but he has that mental strength and moral courage, and I hope that one day we might see him in this House.]