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Middlesbrough MP who lost son to epilepsy calls for cannabis oil law change

Andy McDonald with his son Rory Photo: Family photograph

Middlesbrough MP Andy McDonald whose son died after suffering an epileptic seizure in the night has said he wonders if cannabis oil could have saved him.

His son Rory died aged 16 in 2006. Mr McDonald has written to the Home Secretary calling for a blanket exemption on the use of cannabis oil to alleviate the illness.

Mr McDonald with Rory Credit: Family photograph

He said watching the desperate plight of Charlotte Caldwell, who had oil intended for her 12-year-old epileptic son Billy confiscated from her, was difficult.

Charlotte Caldwell and 12-year-old son Billy, who has acute epilepsy Credit: PA

He told the Press Association: "When you know what's needed and it's not being given to you I'm afraid you will move mountains to make it happen, and my heart goes out to these families in these circumstances. "They should be listened to and supported. They shouldn't have barriers put in their way. It does evoke very strong memories for me and my wife and it's been a difficult day."

As his family embarked on what he described as an "arduous battle" in a bid to gain some control of their own son's seizures, Mr McDonald said cannabis oil was not an option that was ever suggested to him.

He said current publicity around the treatment had left him wondering whether it may have helped his own son.

He said: "It does cross your mind and you just wonder whether he would be with us now if that had been an option that was made available to us.

"I don't know, I don't know whether it would've been relevant in his particular case because it is quite precise and particular, but I do ... that's my thought process, I wonder had that been an option for us, (whether) we'd have him now."

Mr McDonald's 23-year-old son Freddie also suffers from epilepsy and needs 24-hour care.

The MP for Middlesbrough called on the Government to stop putting obstacles in the way of parents and medics who, he said, know what is best.

He said: "Look, listen to the medics, listen to the doctors. And if they say this is working, don't put anything in the way of bringing about that relief because these parents will be living in constant fear of sudden death from epilepsy and nobody wants to have that happen. I couldn't wish that on anybody."

He said he hopes his letter to Sajid Javid will be acknowledged with a positive response, adding "because time is of the essence for many of these families".