Swansea MP who lost her son breaks down over new fund to help bereaved parents

An MP who lost her own son broke down in tears in the Commons as she spoke about a new fund to help bereaved parents pay for funerals during their “darkest hour”.

Labour MP Carolyn Harris (Swansea East) who lost her eight-year-old son Martin almost 30 years ago, said she had been pushing for a fund to assist bereaved parents during their “darkest hour”.

The fund, which will be operational from July 23, will support bereaved parents and help them with paying for a funeral.

In a tearful and passionate speech in the House of Commons, Ms Harris (pictured) said: “Martin’s Fund is a legacy for my son and will be a comfort for every parent that will need to use it in the future.

“So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you.”

The Government estimates that each year 4,350 children die under the age of 18 and grieving parents can face thousands in council fees for burial or cremation costs.

The Government pledged in 2018 to fund local authorities to waive the costs of burials and cremations for children and young people under the age of 18, so grieving parents no longer have to pick up the bill.

But with no fund in place, Justice Minister Edward Argar was pressed by Opposition and Tory MPs to introduce the measures as soon as possible.

Ms Harris admitted she has sometimes been “impatient” in pushing for the fund, but stressed the huge difference it could make to families.

MPs from all parties applauded Ms Harris and paid tribute to her words and campaigning efforts.

Commons Speaker John Bercow said: “The sheer passion, the sincerity and the integrity with which you have spoken and conducted yourself are an example to us all.

“The determination you have shown is an enormous credit to you, your constituency, your party, the House, and I think people across politics and beyond are inspired by the way you have behaved.”

Prime Minister Theresa May paid tribute to Ms Harris’ determination, saying her personal sadness will help other families at times of crisis.

Mrs May said: “I’m pleased we have been able to introduce this fund, and I echo the Speaker’s comments for the way you have championed this cause.

“We share our concerns about your own personal sadness that you went through. But you have taken that and put it to good benefit for families up and down the country.”

Copyright (c) PA Media Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) House Of Commons.

Share On: