Guest blog by Andy Slaughter, Labour MP for Hammersmith
On 28 February, the Government published its response to my petition calling for a recall of the several million tumble dryers manufactured by Whirlpool companies, including Hotpoint and Indesit, which are liable to catch fire. It is wholly inadequate and makes it more urgent that the petition gains another 40,000 signatures to take it to the 100,000 that ensures a full Parliamentary debate.
In August last year a fire ripped through a flat in Shepherds Bush. Following an investigation by the London Fire Brigade it was confirmed that the fire was caused by a faulty Whirlpool tumble dryer.
Since then I have been campaigning for the Government to force Whirlpool to recall all faulty tumble dryers.
As part of this campaign I was in correspondence with the Minister for Consumer Protection, Margot James MP, and I launched the petition to force the Government to debate the issue.
I wrote my most recent letter to Margot James in December, asking her to implement a full product recall. I received her response yesterday, over two months after I wrote.
Yesterday the Government responded in similar terms to the petition, detailing the action taken by both them and Whirlpool to deal with this issue.
From their response, you would think the Government has been actively pushing Whirlpool in this issue, resulting in the company’s recent change in their advice to owners of faulty appliances. This finally changed from saying the machines could be used under supervision, to an admission that they should be put out of use entirely, as recommended by the London Fire Brigade.
However, what they fail to mention is that Whirlpool only changed their advice after the consumer group Which? began a judicial review of Peterborough Trading Standards, who then issued a warning notice.
The Government also states that a Working Group that has been set up to investigate the issue. However, this Working Group is a continuation of the previously established Steering Group, which took no action for over a year because it received no Government support.
While the new Group is better organised, it has failed to publish the interim report it promised would be available in December. In any event the Working Group already knows what needs to be done, as this was set out in the independent report by Lynn Faulds Wood published in February 2016.
Once again, the Government has not told the full story on this issue, and has failed to take serious action against Whirlpool. What action has been taken has been the result of campaigning by consumer groups and individuals like Lynn Faulds Wood.
This issue needs to be debated in Parliament, and it is more vital than ever that people sign my petition to force the Government to have a proper, public debate so that real action can be taken.