THE judge leading the inquiry into the contaminated blood scandal has promised it provide “well-needed answers” to victims and their families.

Mr Justice Langstaff will be the full-time chairman of the inquiry from May 1 after retiring from the High Court.

He promised a “thorough examination of the evidence” behind the “major scandal” which saw thousands die after being given transfusions of tainted blood.

Prime Minister Theresa May announced last year that an inquiry would be held into the events of the 1970s and 1980s, which left around 2,400 people dead.

Thousands of haemophiliacs and other patients were given blood products infected with hepatitis C and HIV.

Mr Justice Langstaff said: “Nothing less than a thorough examination of the evidence will suffice, and the process needs to lead to a full report within the shortest timescales that such thoroughness can accommodate.”

The judge will consult people affected by the scandal and the families of victims on the inquiry’s terms of reference before taking the role full time.

Carol Grayson, from Newcastle, who lost her husband Peter Longstaff in 2005 after he contracted HIV and hepatitis C from contaminated blood, welcomed the appointment.

She said: “It is essential that families, long term campaigners are at the forefront in working towards establishing appropriate terms of reference for the inquiry.

“A number of new campaign groups have set up in recent times which is positive but they have not researched first-hand or hold the vast array of evidence which is vital to the inquiry.”