Wakefield MP Mary Creagh has called on the government to prioritise tourists’ safety abroad after two Horbury schoolchildren were killed by carbon monoxide poisoning.
Ms Creagh also pressed ministers to “do their bit to put things right as well” by match-funding Thomas Cook’s financial input to the Carbon Monoxide Initiative Charity, which has been set up in memory of Bobby and Christi Shepherd.
Bobby, six, and Christi, seven, were on a Thomas Cook holiday with their father Neil and his then partner, now wife, Ruth, in Corfu in October 2006 when they were poisoned by fumes from a faulty boiler.
In an emotional speech to the House of Commons on Tuesday, Ms Creagh said the final school photo of the children had become a symbol of their parents’ long fight for justice and of the “cold-hearted indifference” of Thomas Cook and the government.
Ms Creagh said: “The EU Commission has decided there’s no case for introducing legislation for carbon monoxide safety in holiday accommodation after its green paper.
“That must change. The government too has a duty of care to British citizens and the Prime Minister should make the safety of British tourists a priority as he seeks to renegotiate the UK’s relationship with the EU.
“Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. Nothing will bring back Bobby and Christi. But their parents’ dearest wish is to spare other families the heartbreak they have suffered.”
Ms Creagh also praised the Express’ #TimeForTheTruth campaign which called on Prime Minister David Cameron to overturn the decision not to grant legal aid funding to Bobby and Christi’s families.
She said: “I want to put on record my thanks to the Wakefield Express newspaper. Its #TimeForTheTruth petition to grant the family legal aid was signed by thousands of people in Wakefield. The then editor, Mark Bradley, Gavin Murray and the Express team have supported the parents’ fight for justice with great passion, as have the people of Wakefield.”
The Wakefield MP asked tourism minister Tracey Crouch to commit to push for better safety standards across Europe and the UK.
She said: “Their parents have told me they will never again have a perfect day. So the powers that be, whether in this government or at Thomas Cook, should be in no doubt that whatever power this place gives us, I intend to use to campaign for justice for Christi and Bobby and their parents.
“Theirs is a cause that cries out for justice, attention and for change and we must see that they get it.”
In reply, Ms Crouch said the European Commission is not considering EU-wide regulation.