Local MP Bill Wiggin was left “disgusted” after Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman refused to support calls for help to be given to Leominster town crier and firefighter David Taylor for him to get the Avastin cancer drug he needs to stay alive. In response to Bill Wiggin’s request that the Government look into this case at Prime Minsiter’s Questions on Wednesday (3 March 2010), Harriet Harman failed to acknowledge Mr Taylor’s serious condition and instead of offering help boasted that people should back the Government’s record. Bill Wiggin said:

“I am disgusted at Harriet Harman’s heartless attitude and complete lack of compassion towards David Taylor and his family. The fact that she could not even be bothered to offer to look into this serious case shows how insensitive Labour acts towards people in need. Mr Taylor does not care about the Government’s record and spin; all he wants to have are the drugs he needs to stay alive and it is such a pity the Labour Government is not on his side.”

“David Taylor has given many years of service to the local community in Leominster as a town crier and firefighter and it is heart-breaking to see that he is being refused treatment to keep him alive. I will continue to do all I can to support Mr Taylor.”

Notes to editors:

Bill Wiggin had raised the matter with Harriet Harman, who was standing in for Gordon Brown, at Prime Minister’s Question Time today (3 March 2010) after Mr Taylor was diagnosed with bowel cancer and refused the Avastin drug.

The drug, which would keep him alive, was prescribed by his oncologist but the PCT refused to fund the treatment because Avastin has not been approved by NICE (the National Institute for Clinical Excellence).

Text of Bill Wiggin’s question and Harriet Harman’s reply, from Hansard:

3 Mar 2010 : Column 943

Bill Wiggin (Leominster) (Con):