Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Michael Gove calls for inquiry into Hull baby ashes

Tina Trowhill
Image caption Tina Trowhill started the Hull Action for Ashes campaign after discovering her stillborn son's ashes had been scattered without her knowledge

An independent inquiry should be launched into infant cremations in Hull, the government has said.

Tina and Mike Trowhill have campaigned for the inquiry for over a year, after discovering their son's ashes were scattered without their knowledge.

Justice Secretary Michael Gove told Hull North MP Diana Johnson that Hull City Council had been asked to commission the inquiry.

Ms Johnson said it was a "victory" for parents.

The council said it would consider Mr Gove's request for a local inquiry, but said a national inquiry should be launched instead.

An inquiry in Shropshire last June concluded that a national inspector should be created for crematoriums after parents were unable to receive their babies' ashes.

In March, Scottish MPs agreed new regulations on burials and cremations.

Image caption Hull North MP Diana Johnson said: "Only full independent scrutiny of what happened over many years will give families confidence that the terrible errors of the past will not be repeated in the future."

Hull City Council said: "We are very sensitive to the need to ensure that parents across the country do not have to deal with the upset and uncertainty of not knowing what has happened to their baby's ashes.

"No decision has yet been made to hold a local enquiry but we will consider the Minister's request taking into account all the work undertaken locally with the hospital and funeral directors, the previous enquiries in Scotland and Shropshire and the recent national call for evidence, towards which we have contributed substantially.

"Our position has always been that this is a national issue and that the best way to ensure that parents, at a time of great distress, have confidence in a consistent and caring process across all hospitals, funeral directors and crematoria in dealing with the ashes of their babies is for the government to develop and issue clear guidelines within a national Code of Practice, based on the findings of a national inquiry."

MP Diana Johnson, who supported the Hull campaign, said: "This is a victory for Tina Trowhill and other parents in Hull and from around the country.

"Only full independent scrutiny will give families confidence that the terrible errors of the past will not be repeated in the future."

She said it was "regrettable" that the independent inquiry had only been announced after a year of campaigning.

"I want the council to get on now and do the right thing and find out for the 100-odd families who have come forward to find out what happened to their babies' ashes," she said.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites