A WESTMINSTER debate on the Oliver King Foundation’s calls for life-saving defibrillators in all UK public buildings has been granted.
Walton MP Steve Rotheram took the plea to the House of Commons Back Bench Committee on behalf of the Foundation, set up in memory of the tragic 12-year-old, who died in 2011 from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) while swimming in the pool at King David High School.
The committee’s MPs granted a three-hour debate to be held in Westminster Hall, tabled for March 25, and indicated a full House of Commons debate could follow in May.
The Foundation was given another boost today when Liverpool FC’s Steven Gerrard became the latest high-profile supporter of calls for the Government to help combat SADS, which claims up to 1,000 young lives every year in the UK.
The Reds and England midfielder signed up to a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron saying that "we are not asking the government to pay for these devices but for legislation that ensures automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) are available in all public buildings, in a manner similar to the current provision of fire extinguishers."
Mr Rotheram, who was allowed to request the debate after more than 110,000 people signed an e-petition calling on the government to take action, said the back bench committee had been receptive to the call.
He added: "It was very good and the committee was really sympathetic to what was said and understood the issue."
Earlier this week, Liberal Democrat peer and former Liverpool council leader Lord Mike Storey raised the Oliver King story in the House of Lords and received a tribute to the work of the Foundation from health minister Earl Howe, who said: "My Lords, I pay tribute to the Oliver King Foundation for its work, as indeed I do to Cardiac Risk in the Young, which for many years has been campaigning very tellingly and successfully in this area."
Foundation patron Cllr Jake Morrison said the support of the committee was a milestone, adding: "Hopefully we can get as many MPs as possible to take part in the debate and make it really successful so we can get a full House of Commons debate and vote on our campaign’s goals."