'Pressure now on the government', says MP

MPs have stepped up their calls for England to follow Scotland and pass a bill allowing compensation for pleural plaques.

The Asbestos Bill passed the third stage in the Scottish parliament last week and is expected to become law within three weeks.

David Anderson, Labour MP for Blaydon, said: “This puts more pressure on the government ... it would be massively unfair if they allow compensation in Scotland but not south of the border.”

Pleural plaques are a symptomless condition caused by exposure to asbestos.

AXA, Norwich Union, RSA and Zurich are all believed to be planning legal action against the Scottish government once the bill – which overturns a Law Lords ruling in 2007 – receives royal assent.

Matthew Scott, head of liability claims for Axa, said: “All the medical evidence is that [pleural plaques] doesn’t cause future harm. But they’re effectively legislating to say the opposite is true.”

The same group of insurers is considering suing the UK government if it follows Scotland’s lead.