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MPs debate National Defence Medal for Armed Forces Veterans

Added: (Fri Feb 04 2011)

Pressbox (Press Release) - Hope that British Veterans will finally be treated equally with their Commonwealth allies could finally be coming to fruition. The long awaited medal review (some veterans have been waiting over 60 years) is due to be published. Although the review did not directly consult with interested parties and the MoD’s track record with veterans affairs has been poor to date, there is a real feeling of optimism and anticipation that under Andrew Robathans stewardship, a positive recommendation will emerge and Her Majesty will finally be given the chance to approve a National Defence Medal for the UK, as has already been the case for Australia and more recently New Zealand.

When Servicemen and women take the oath or affirmation of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen they are likely at any time to be called upon to make personal sacrifices. Many of these veterans believe their service in keeping this nation safe and secure has been forgotten and for years have been seeking recognition through the award of a UK ‘National Defence Medal’.

Denis MacShane Labour MP for Rotherham, who with 200 other MPs called for the medal to be awarded as soon as possible, has now secured an adjournment debate in Parliament to counter any continuing obstruction in the depths of the Ministry of Defence to honour our service men and women.

The award of the defence medal to our veterans is a UKIP policy and the first policy motion approved by the Liberal Democrat Party since being in Coalition Government. A medal review supported by the Conservative Party and contained in the Coalition ‘ Programme for Government’ is underway but its lack of transparency and consultation outside of MOD is causing thousands of veterans concern.

The MOD position in the past has been that awarding a medal for solely being a member of the Armed Forces would devalue the system and believe a veterans’ badge should be sufficient recognition.

Colonel Terry Scriven (retd), Chairman of Liberal Democrats Friends of the Armed Forces said,

“How can the award of a National Defence Medal, by Her Majesty to our veterans, who participated in the hazardous Berlin Airlift; or to the millions of National Servicemen who were compulsorily taken away from their homes, their families and their way of life, or recognition of thousands of service personnel involved in the Cold War which saw hundreds of them killed on duty and thousands injured; devalue our medal system?”

The National Defence Medal campaign is supported by service organisations throughout the UK, by serving and retired service commanders, by public dignitaries and veteran icons such as Dame Vera Lynn who question why successive governments have failed to institute a medal which appropriately recognises our veterans.

Tony Morland the co-Chairman of the UK National Defence Medal campaign said,

“The NDM is symbolic in this government showing it means what it says in addressing the broken military covenant. Veterans understand in this climate of austerity, the medal will need to be self-financing and at no cost to the ‘public purse’. However, we fail to understand why we are being denied such recognition when Her Majesty the Queen has awarded a defence medal to Australian and New Zealand regular and reserve forces together with their veterans”.

Notes for the Editor (see below)
The Debate is scheduled for 12:30hrs, Tuesday 8th February 2011, Westminster Hall, 30 Minute Debate.

Submitted by:Tony Morland
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