HC Deb 12 February 1979 vol 962 cc780-1
23. Mr. Jessel

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement on the provision being made for Mr. K. Brown, details of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Twickenham.

Mr. Charles R. Morris

I have studied very carefully the facts of this very sad case, and I am confident that Mr. Brown has received, and will continue to receive, the maximum benefits that the rules of the Civil Service pension scheme provide for cases of this nature. However, in addition, I have also undertaken to seek advice on the legal position generally and on the amount of any ex gratia additional payment that it might be proper to make from public funds.

Mr. Jessel

I thank the Minister for that answer, as far as it goes. However, since it was whilst serving his country abroad as a Foreign Office official in Swaziland that Mr. Brown's appendicitis was mis-diagnosed and, as a result, he had one leg amputated above the knee and a major internal operation, leaving him permanently crippled and with his life virtually ruined, do the Government accept in principle that he should be paid a very generous lump sum by way of compensation?

Mr. Morris

Again, I emphasise that I have a great deal of sympathy with this particularly distressing case. I hope that hon. Members in all parts of the House will be assured that additional compensation will be considered carefully and compassionately. However, I cannot prejudge the legal advice which I am seeking. Therefore, I cannot make any firm commitment at this stage about the amount of any additional payment.

Mr. Wrigglesworth

May I thank my right hon. Friend for the concern that he has expressed? Is he aware that Mr. Brown's union is very concerned about this case, which, as has been made clear, is a very tragic one? It has dragged on for a very long time. Therefore, will my right hon. Friend try to expedite his inquiries so that a generous settlement can be made as soon as possible?

Mr. Morris

Certainly I undertake to proceed as urgently as possible with this case.

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