A BRADFORD-born MP died from an industrial disease and claimed she was exposed to asbestos in the Houses of Parliament, an inquest heard. 

Alice Mahon, who served as the Labour MP for Halifax for almost two decades, died at the age of 85 at Summerfield House Nursing Home, in Gibbet Street, Halifax, on Christmas Day last year.

An inquest into her death concluded on Thursday afternoon at Bradford Coroners' Court after it was opened by assistant coroner Angela Brocklehurst on January 19 this year.

Mrs Brocklehurst said: “Mrs Mahon came by her death as a result of an industrial disease.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Alice Mahon, ex Labour MP for HalifaxAlice Mahon, ex Labour MP for Halifax (Image: Telegraph & Argus)

The coroner accepted the medical cause of death provided by Mrs Mahon’s GP.

This included: malignant mesothelioma (a cancer of the thin tissue that lines the lung, chest wall, and abdomen), essential hypertension (abnormally high blood pressure that's not the result of a medical condition) and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol).

Mrs Mahon, who grew up in Buttershaw, served as an MP between 1987 and 2005 but also worked at Northowram Hospital before this as an auxiliary nurse.

She also delved into the retail and hospitality world at the end of the 1960s and start of the 1970s, running a number of shops and pubs.

But it was during her time at Northowram Hospital and as an MP that Mrs Mahon claims she was exposed to asbestos – the major risk factor for mesothelioma is exposure to the fibrous substance.

The court heard that in Mrs Mahon’s later years not only did age begin to take its course but she also began to develop breathing problems.

The former MP made a claim for compensation in relation to exposure to asbestos while she was alive.

Mrs Brocklehurst read out the relevant parts of this in court.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Alice Mahon speaks at the Durham Miners' Gala in 1997Alice Mahon speaks at the Durham Miners' Gala in 1997 (Image: UGC)

Mrs Mahon explained in the document that during her various periods at Northowram Hospital, which began in 1959, she would work inside the main building and Nissen huts.

The court heard the latter were made from corrugated asbestos sheets and maintenance workers would cut and drill into them while staff were working, to move and relocate the sheets.

This would create dust that they cleaned with an ordinary sweeping brush.

Mrs Brocklehurst said: “She also referred to the Houses of Parliament being riddled with asbestos and believes she was exposed to that material while working there.”

Mrs Mahon had a humanist funeral on March 6 this year at Parkwood Crematorium, in Park Road, Elland.

Following this, the Vicar of Halifax offered to host a memorial at Halifax Minster, to provide a place for members of the community to pay their respects.

This was attended by a number of high-profile figures, including former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and current Labour MP for Halifax Holly Lynch, the court heard.

Mrs Brocklehurst said "many attended" and that the memorial was based on Mrs Mahon's "campaign for peaceful solutions to our problems".