Lawyers for the family of Daniel Dennis, a 17-year-old who died falling through a skylight in his first week of work, have welcomed an attack by Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Wales and Northern Ireland, on attempts to scupper the Corporate Manslaughter Bill.

The Dennis family last week wrote to every member of the House of Lords asking them not to risk the loss of the Bill because of a Conservative and Liberal Democrat backed amendment extending it to deaths in custody.

But the Lords defeated the government's attempts to find a compromise over the issue and now the Bill must return to the House of Commons, where it risks running out of time to become law.

Peter Hain will tomorrow (Thursday 24 May) join Peter Dennis, Daniel's father, at the Wales TUC in condemning the actions of those who appear intent on wrecking the Bill.

Mr Hain today said: "This disgraceful attempt to scupper this vital legislation reveals the true face of the Conservative Party. For all their warm words about social justice, they remain a party totally indifferent to the welfare and rights of working people."

Mick Antoniw, the Dennis family representative at Thompsons Solicitors in Cardiff, said:

"We welcome any intervention from the Secretary of State that will ensure that the Corporate Manslaughter Bill becomes law. Those that backed the amendment that extends the Bill to deaths in police custody are cynically engineering the Bill's defeat.

"Deaths in custody is an important issue. But this Bill was never intended to cover it. It is a long-promised piece of legislation aimed at punishing employers who kill and maim workers. It is therefore an industrial and workplace health and safety measure which is desperately needed to help prevent tragedies like that of Daniel Dennis happening again."

Peter Dennis said:

"We hope Peter Hain's intervention will help to bring people to their senses and will save this vital Bill. Death in custody is important but we cannot lose the Bill entirely on this issue.

"We have had to live with the loss of Daniel. What has kept us going has been the thought that something will be done so other families don't have to go through what we have. That is why we have campaigned for a law on Corporate Manslaughter to hold employers to account. Daniel's death must not have been in vain."