One of Yorkshire’s best-known former MPs died from the deadly effects of asbestos, which she claimed she was exposed to in Parliament, an inquest has heard.
Alice Mahon, who was Halifax’s MP for 18 years until 2005, was renowned as a staunch opponent of military action and fiercely opposed Tony Blair’s invasion of Iraq.
Mrs Mahon died on Christmas Day last year as a result of a breathing disease which she developed because of exposure to asbestos, an inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court heard.
The former Labour MP spent three phases of her life working as a trainee nurse and auxiliary nurse at a hospital in Northowram where she was exposed to asbestos.
In a statement read to the court she recalled maintenance men creating dust during their work and birds pecking away at the lagging creating dust.
Later at the House of Commons she said she also experienced the deadly effects of asbestos when maintenance men were working in her office. Mrs Mahon had made a claim for compensation in relation to exposure to asbestos while she was alive.
Assistant coroner Angela Brocklehurst said Mrs Mahon began to experience increasing episodes of breathlessness in later life and died in a Halifax care home on Gibbet Street.
She concluded that she died as the result of an industrial disease – malignant mesothelioma. The inquest conclusion establishes the potential for a claim by her family.
The court heard she spent years campaigning on behalf of victims of asbestos poisoning after believing she was exposed at both the hospital and the House of Commons.
At the time of her death, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said: “Alice Mahon was a tireless champion for the people of Halifax. My thoughts are with her friends and family.”