Government minister’s pledge welcomed by mother of tragic Yorkshire youngster Harry Whitlam

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The mum of tragic Yorkshire schoolboy Harry Whitlam has said she is “hugely encouraged” by a Government minister’s response to calls for a change in the laws that deal with drivers like the one who killed her son.

Harry, 11, from East Ardsley, near Leeds, died after he was struck by a reversing tractor at Swithens Farm in Rothwell in August 2013.

The driver of the tractor, Gary Green, was over the drink drive limit but could not be prosecuted under road traffic laws because the incident happened on private land.

Harry’s mum, Pamela Whitlam, is campaigning for that loophole to be closed with the introduction of Whitlam’s Law and, during a House of Commons debate on Thursday, transport minister John Hayes said he would consider the “possibility of future legislative reform”.

Giving her reaction to the minister’s comments, Miss Whitlam yesterday told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “The debate went so well. It’s set a ball rolling and people have taken notice of what happened and are willing to have a look and start making changes.

“I’m hugely encouraged. It’s been tiny, tiny steps all the way but this was like one giant leap forward.”

She also praised Elmet and Rothwell MP Alec Shelbrooke, saying of his contribution to Thursday’s debate: “He was marvellous, the way that he spoke, everything that he said, he was amazing.”

Green, from Robin Hood, near Rothwell, was sentenced at Leeds Crown Court last year to 16 months in prison for health and safety violations relating to Harry’s death.

If the incident had taken place on public land and the case been dealt with under road traffic laws, it could have carried a maximum jail term of 14 years.