Wednesday, February 27, 2008

British Soldiers have no award similar to Purple Heart, why not?

PM Brown told it's time to honor British wounded or KIAs

MPs tell PM Gordon Brown 'give soldiers award they deserve'
By Bob Roberts And Chris Hughes 27/02/2008
Gordon Brown (Pic:PA)
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(What's this?)Gordon Brown was yesterday warned he must award a new medal to British soldiers - or face a bitter political backlash.

In a historic House of Commons debate on the Mirror's campaign to honour servicemen and women killed and wounded in action, MP after MP said it was not enough to leave it to dithering military chiefs.

While relatives of soldiers looked on, Labour's Lindsay Hoyle told ministers: "This is a matter of respect. The only way we can show that respect and honour is by recognition.

"The best recognition the House can offer is a medal through the Ministry of Defence. We ought to be leading from the front and saying: 'Now is the right time'."

AdvertisementLabour MP Andrew Mackinlay said: "It is inappropriate to excuse ministers. The two most recent conflicts, in Iraq and Afghanistan, have been fought on the instructions of this Parliament. Ministers cannot, therefore, hide behind people at the MoD." Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock said: "The mood of the country demands that proper recognition should be forthcoming."

Conservative MP Patrick Mercer launched a bitter attack on the bureaucrats refusing the medal.

He said: "There may be some senior officers inside the Ministry of Defence who themselves perhaps have unencumbered chests and who do not quite understand what it means to be shot at, what it means to lose comrades and what it means to bury comrades.

Deskbound military chiefs, led by Chief of the General Staff Sir Richard Dannatt and his deputy Sir Timothy Granville-Chapman, have yet to agree to award a medal. So far 288 MPs from three parties have signed an Early Day Motion supporting our campaign.

Veterans Minister Derek Twigg said: "Our minds are not closed to proposals for new medals or other forms of recognition. It is right that military chiefs of staff make initial detailed recommendations on proposed forms of recognition."


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