Nadine Dorries calls Louis Watkiss SnowDome death 'tragic' as indoor ski law change pressure grows

The culture secretary has described the death of a 12-year-old boy who died at the SnowDome in Tamworth last year as a "tragic situation".

Speaking to ITV Central while on a visit to a new aquatics centre in Sandwell, Nadine Dorries said Louis Watkiss' death was "awful".

Her comments come just a day after she had received a letter from Sutton Coldfield MP Andrew Mitchell, which backed calls from Louis' parents for helmets to be made mandatory inside indoor ski centres.

Louis Watkiss, of Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, died after being seriously injured at the SnowDome in Tamworth on September 24 last year.

He was tobogganing at a friend’s birthday party when he was involved in a collision on the slope which left him with a serious head injury.

An investigation involving the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is under way into the precise circumstances of what happened.

Louis Watkiss enjoyed playing the saxophone Credit: Handout

On Wednesday, Mr Mitchell sent a letter to Ms Dorries, writing that "Louis's injuries proved fatal because he was not wearing a helmet."

"The coroner's verdict confirms there is little doubt that a helmet would have saved his life."

Mr Mitchell adds: "I believe that, in the wake of this tragedy, there may be a case for a change in the law to mandate the wearing of helmets for children at indoor ski events."

"I would be most grateful for your advice on the view the government might take on such an initiative."

Mr Mitchell added there were alternatives to legislating, including the introduction across the indoor snow sports industry of a voluntary code of practice, ensuring children must wear helmets.

He said the SnowDome had already made such a move.

Louis Watkiss died after colliding with a staff member at the SnowDome in Tamworth

Since Mr Mitchell sent the letter to Ms Dorries, she said she has taken her own children to indoor ski centres.

She also told ITV Central: "This is something I'll be looking at very seriously," she said, before adding: "Andrew is really right to raise it as an issue."

Responding to the comments made by Ms Dorries, Louis's dad Chris, told ITV Central: "Natalie and I are pleased to see Nadine Dorries is aware of what happened to Louis.

"It's promising that she says she will be looking at our campaign seriously and we are eager to hear more of her thoughts on the situation soon."

A Staffordshire Police spokeswoman said: "We are continuing to robustly investigate the circumstances with support from the Health and Safety Executive."