A STOCKTON Heath man, whose son has autism, has attended the European Parliament to draw attention to a steep rise in the number of cases in the UK.

David Thrower, of Ackers Lane, helped organise a seminar in Brussels to support son Oliver, aged 23, who he believes became severely autistic after having the triple MMR jab as a child.

The meeting was hosted by Marta Andreasen, UKIP MEP for south east England, in the committee debating chamber and was attended by more than 70 parents.

They heard experts in autism, a brain development disorder, describe the rising numbers of young people with the condition in the UK as a ‘tsunami’ that is now being considered an epidemic.

Speeches were made by Dr Alvaro Ramirez, chairman of the European Autism Public Health Alliance, Kathy Sinnott, an autism campaigner and former Irish MEP, and Dr Andrew Wakefield, the US-based research scientist who is investigating the possibility of a link between MMR vaccines and regression into autism.

Mr Thrower, aged 60, said: “We felt that the MEPs were prepared to listen carefully to what we had to say. They are clearly concerned at the steep upsurge in autism numbers and the apparent lack of interest by member state Governments, such as that at Westminster, in investigating the rise.”