He has spoken about meeting those who have lost children in the NHS and Tory Leadership hopeful Jeremy Hunt knows only too well how this can affect parents.
His mum, Meriel and late father Admiral Sir Nicholas Hunt had to deal with the tragic death of his little sister, Sarah, when she was just 10 months old.
Hunt, 52, spoke about the “tragic accident” when he appeared on ITV’s Peston last night.
He had told ITV’s political editor Robert Peston he would be happy to talk about the tragedy beforehand.
Local newspaper the Kensington Post covered the inquest into Sarah’s tragic death at Westminster Coroner’s Court in March 1969.
Coroner Gavin Thurston heard how Sarah drowned in the bath as the family’s nanny prepared their dinner.
Jeremy was in the bath with Sarah when the tragedy happened at the family home in Kensington.
The inquest was told how nanny Dianne Brady had left the children in the bath for ‘about five minutes’.
When she returned to the bathroom she found Jeremy, then two-and-a-half, sitting at the end of the bath.
Sarah was laying face upwards.
Jeremy told Miss Brady: “Sarah’s asleep.”
Miss Brady tried to revive Sarah but she died on the way to St Charles Hospital in Kensington.
Mr Hunt’s father Commander Hunt praised Miss Brady after the Coroner recorded a verdict of accidental death.
He said: “We have had Miss Brady with us for about six months and we think she’s absolutely marvellous and both children absolutely adored her.”
Giving evidence at the time a distraught Miss Brady said had put the children in the bath in about five or six inches of water and had then gone to their bedroom to lay out pyjamas. Then she went to the kitchen to get Sarah’s dinner ready.
She explained she had difficulty in finding the baby’s bottle and she also put the spin drier on.
She told the Coroner that the drier was quite noisy and that she thought all this had taken about five minutes.
During his ITV show last night ITV’s political editor Robert Peston said to Mr Hunt: “Rather extraordinary about your childhood which I was completely unaware of which is that you had a baby sister who tragically died, could you just tell me a little bit about what that was?”
Hunt replied: “Well, I don’t talk about that normally.
“And actually I wouldn’t say that this is something that has affected me emotionally because she was just a few months old when she died in a terrible accident and I was too young to ever remember it.”
He added: “I do know it affected my parents,” before Peston interrupted him to say: “But it must have affected you. It must have affected you though, don’t you think?
“This is the sort of tragedy that has a profound affect on families.”
Mr Hunt, who has a younger brother Charlie, said: “Well I was only two-years-old so it’s not something I have any memories of.
“But as I say, I do know it affected my parents. Maybe when I met parents who had lost children in the NHS…maybe that triggered something in me. I don’t know but I wouldn’t claim this is something that had a big emotional effect on me personally.”
Addressing the backlash Peston tweeted: “I have upset many of you by asking about this.
“But it was not a ‘gotcha’ as you seem to think. I told Jeremy-Hunt well in advance I had heard of this terrible family event in his life and asked if he would be happy to talk about it.
“He said yes. My view was that it would aid understanding of him if he talked about it.
“Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I asked the questions clumsily.
“But I would never have entered such difficult private space without the permission of the interviewee.
“Sorry though to have upset so many of you.”