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The judgement has gone in favour of the insurance companies and the employers and against the workers who have to live with asbestos in their lungs and the appalling fear that their condition could develop into mesothelioma, the incurable cancer caused by asbestos. 

But we won't take this lying down.

I call on Mr MacAskill to change the law in Scotland so that those suffering from this type of asbestos exposure continue to have a legal right to compensation.

Solicitor Advocate Frank Maguire, of Thompsons Solicitors, a leading campaigner for asbestos victims said: This judgement will only diminish respect for the law by showing how divorced it can be from reality.

Employers who recklessly exposed their workers, and insurance companies desperate to avoid paying out, have successfully argued that someone with asbestos in their lungs, and at risk of getting a terminal disease has suffered no harm, and has no claim. That is patently nonsense.

It is up to the Scottish Parliament to ensure the victims rights are recognised and the companies brought to account, which Mr MacAskill can do by passing legislation to put the law right.

MSPs from the three major parties backed the move to introduce legislation at the Scottish Parliament.

Bill Kidd SNP said: I think it is atrocious in the extreme to treat people who have contributed so much is such an appalling manner.

The logic of this judgement is that you need to be nearly dead to qualify for compensation.

Many of those affected have seen their friends slip away, and fear the same thing could happen to them.

If we need to legislate then I would be very much in favour and so would my colleagues.

Bill Butler, Labour said: This is a very disturbing judgment, and it is compleely unacceptable.

Labour would definitely support legislation, if that is the only way to solve the problem. I hope the new administration, and all other parties would also give their support.

Robert Brown, Liberal Democrat said: This is a really horrible disease and it ought not to be necessary for the victims to have to fight for compensation.

I hope the Justice Secretary look at it urgently.

Agnes Dickson, 65, from East Kilbride was diagnosed with pleural plaques, as the condition is officially known, when her brother Robert, 62, discovered he had mesothelioma, a year ago.

Agnes said: The worst part for me is the terrible strain of living in fear that the asbestos in my lungs could suddenly shoot off, and could turn out to be what my brother has.

Now they are saying we are not entitled to compensation.

It's so unjust. They just don't seem to want to pay for anything.

Agnes added: My father worked for shipbuilders Barclay Curle, and my uncle, who lodged with us, worked for Cape Board and Panels.

My uncle's overalls were always covered in this white dust and I remember helping my mum shake it off out the back before we put them in the washing machine.

That's the only way I could have been affected by asbestos.

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