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Boris Johnson told: “It’s time to deliver justice for Britain’s nuclear test veterans”

Campaigners have asked the Prime Minister to use his last week in office to fulfil his promise to the victims of Cold War radiation experiments

Mirror. Susie Boniface, Reporter. 28 Aug 2022

Politicians and celebrities have joined forces with survivors of Britain’s nuclear tests to ask the Prime Minister to deliver justice in his last week in Downing Street.

They have written Boris Johnson an open letter, urging him to decide whether to “turn his back on our national heroes” or honour them before the 70th anniversary next month of the UK’s first atomic bomb.

The PM met families affected by the Cold War radiation experiments in June, but with only days left in Downing Street has yet to make any announcement about the medal they asked him for.

Both his potential successors have said they support it – but no decision has been made, with officials on leave and all eyes on the leadership campaign.

Mirror editor Alison Phillips said: “It is imperative this medal is delivered quickly, because these veterans are over 80 and have complex health problems. The window is closing for this PM to make a real difference to their need for recognition.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, who met the veterans a year earlier than the PM and promised them his support, said: “It’s appalling that Britain’s nuclear test veterans and their families shave not yet had justice after years of maltreatment, and I’m saddened that their long campaign is exceeding the life of so many of them.

“The PM has a very clear choice now: deliver on his promise to give real recognition ahead of the October 3 Plutonium Jubilee, or turn his back on our national heroes.”

He added: “The country owes a huge debt of honour to these veterans. The PM must act to deliver the appreciation, respect and justice they deserve, and Labour will continue to support their campaign every step of the way.”

The medal committee has been given fresh evidence to help its decision. Government insiders have told the Mirror that they have been trying to “force” a medal through, but have met a brick wall of officialdom, made worse by Tory turmoil.

“All it takes is for Boris to give this his attention,” said one. “If he just asked the Queen it could be done in a week.”

The letter has been signed by dozens of MPs, peers, famous faces, and everyone who was at the meeting with the PM. They include Operation Grapple veteran John Morris, 85, who saw four nuclear explosions and told Johnson: “It’s the ideal moment, Prime Minister, for you to look me in the eye and tell me, ‘you deserve a medal’. Or say, ‘sod off’.”

Nuclear descendants Steve Purse, Alan Owen, Laura Jackson, and Laura Morris have signed, along with Tory grandee Sir John Hayes and Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey, who secured the meeting between them.

Backing them are broadcaster Kirstie Allsopp, and comedians Al Murray, Rory Bremner and Mark Steel. Call The Midwife star Stephen McGann, and its scriptwriter, Heidi Thomas, also supported the call after a nuclear veteran featured in two series of their show.

McGann earlier likened the scandal to Hillsborough, and called on the PM to cut through the “Pooterish nonsense” that meant they were denied a medal.

Other supporters include shadow defence secretary John Healey, shadow attorney general Emily Thornberry, and SNP leader Ian Blackford, along with 47 other MPs from Labour, the SNP and Conservative Party, and the metro mayors Andy Burnham, Dan Jarvis and Steve Rotheram.

The veterans are also backed by Tory, Labour, and cross-bench peers Ruth Davidson, Shami Chakrabarti, John Hendy, Prem Sikka, Christine Blower, Pauline Bryan and Sayeeda Warsi.

Here is the letter in full…

* You can add your own name by clicking HERE


August 28, 2022 - Posted by | politics, weapons and war

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