Mary Creagh, MP for Wakefield, has secured a debate in Parliament to discuss the case of Bobby and Christi Shepherd, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty boiler while on holiday in Corfu in 2006.
The family campaigned for years to get to the truth of Christi and Bobby’s death. The family were only granted an inquest into the children’s deaths in February 2014. Thomas Cook then tried to stop the inquest from taking place.
After being granted the inquest the family faced an uphill struggle. The Government refused them legal aid, leaving the parents without legal representation. It was only after Ms Creagh raised the issue with the Prime Minister and arranged for them to meet him, that legal aid was finally granted in May 2014.
In May 2015 the inquest concluded that the children had been unlawfully killed and that Thomas Cook had “breached its duty of care”.
Mary Creagh met with new Thomas Cook Chief Executive, Peter Fankhauser, on Tuesday 7 July. She was encouraged to hear the company will be setting up a charity to improve carbon Monoxide safety and improve safety in hotels.
Mary Creagh will use the debate to set out how the family were failed by Thomas Cook. She will also call for Thomas Cook and the Government to lead a Europe-wide campaign for improved carbon monoxide safety.
The debate will take place on Tuesday 14 July at approximately 8pm.
Mary Creagh MP said:
“Having worked with the family for the past five years, their dearest wish is that no other family suffers a similar tragedy. As British families get ready for their summer holidays they want to know they will come home safely. That’s why I am pressing Thomas Cook and the UK government to lead a Europe-wide campaign for improved carbon monoxide safety.
“Ministers have dismissed action at EU level for higher safety standards against carbon monoxide poisoning. That shows a shocking indifference to the safety of holiday makers in the wake of this tragedy. That must change. David Cameron should make the safety of British tourists a priority as he seeks to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU.”
- 1. The MP has tabled a parliamentary motion calling for action. The motion has now been signed by 46 MPs from across the UK:
Early Day Motion 42 – Thomas Cook and Christi and Bobby Shepherd: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2015-16/42
That this House expresses its deepest condolences to the parents of Christi and Bobby Shepherd, who died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning on holiday in Corfu in 2006; notes that the actions of Thomas Cook since the children’s deaths have added to their parents’ grief; that Thomas Cook tried to prevent the inquest into the children’s deaths from taking place; notes the refusal of former Chief Executive Harriet Green to meet with Sharon Wood and Neil Shepherd, Christi and Bobby’s parents; notes that the former Chief Executive of Thomas Cook, Manny Fontenla-Novoa, exercised his right to remain silent at the inquest; that the current Chief Executive of Thomas Cook, Peter Fankhauser said that Thomas Cook had “nothing to apologise for” at the Coroner’s inquest; that the Coroner’s inquest ruled that the children had been unlawfully killed and that Thomas Cook “breached its duty of care” to them; notes that the former Chief Executive of Thomas Cook, Harriet Green is in line for a £10.5 million pay-out; this House therefore condemns the fact that 2 men convicted of Christi and Bobby’s manslaughter have been discovered working in Thomas Cook hotels; condemns the Louis hotel where the children died for reletting the bungalow where the children died to other holidaymakers, breaking the promise they made to the children’s parents; calls on Thomas Cook’s remuneration committee to review Ms Green’s settlement; and calls on Thomas Cook to install carbon monoxide alarms in all their holiday accommodation where gas is present; and calls on Thomas Cook and the UK government to lead a Europe-wide campaign for improved carbon monoxide safety in the UK and across the EU.
2.Ministers fail to back new safety standards:
In the Government’s response to the EU Commission Green Paper (attached) on The Safety of Tourism Accommodation Services (consultation opened November 2014)
- para 27 “a European safety standard would impose an unnecessary cost on tourism businesses in England”.
- para 42 “the Secretary of State for culture, media and sport….has asked that we make clear in our response that while recognising this is an important issue, it was a significant piece of work and extremely resource intensive. He felt it was not a good use of EU time.”