The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Rishi Sunak ‘turns his back’ on UK’s nuclear test veterans a year after pledging support

The Prime Minister has refused to look at their evidence of a criminal cover-up within the Ministry of Defence, less than a year after pledging his support for a police investigation

By Susie Boniface, 22 May 2023

It comes after the G7 summit in Japan when the PM visited a memorial honouring the 200,000 who died at Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, the event that triggered Britain’s own atomic experiments.

Campaigner Alan Owen, whose father died after witnessing 24 nuclear bombs in just 78 days, said: “He was happy to take the headlines for getting us a medal, but now he’s turned his back on 22,000 men who suffered and died for the nuclear deterrent that he’s relying on to keep us safe from Vladimir Putin.”

Nuke veterans have waited 70 years for official recognition, and since the weapons trials have suffered a legacy of cancers, miscarriages, and birth defects in their children.

Sunak delivered them a medal just a month after taking office.

During the Tory leadership campaign last summer, a spokesman for Sunak told the Mirror: “Rishi supports the campaign for nuclear veterans to be recognised for their service.

“We are incredibly grateful for our nuclear veterans’ sacrifice which kept Britain safe during the Cold War… He would also back an investigation into whether the tests represented a criminal offence towards these veterans.”

After making the medal announcement at the National Memorial Arboretum last November, he briefly met Laura Morris, of Salford, whose grandfather John witnessed several H-bombs in 1958, later lost his son Steven to cot death, and developed pernicious anaemia before being refused a war pension.

He had multiple blood tests during the trials, but the results are not in his medical file.

Parliament has been told all such records are at the Atomic Weapons Establishment in “scientific data”, but veterans, widows, and next-of-kin have been refused access. Withholding or falsifying medical records is a crime. Laura asked the PM to meet and discuss it, and he told her he would.

Her MP, Labour’s Rebecca Long-Bailey, said: “It’s frankly soul-destroying that the PM made a promise in person to my constituent but now fails to keep his word. It has taken six months to decide that he just can’t find the time.”

“In the Tory leadership contest he promised he’d support a criminal investigation, and now he won’t meet us so we can show him the evidence,” she said.

“It’s appalling that after what these veterans have suffered, and I truly hope he changes his mind, and meets them as promised.”

In a letter to Laura, Sunak said the “extraordinary sacrifice” of veterans had been overlooked “for too long” and he had been “delighted” to announce the medal.

He added: “The significance and poignancy of the announcement was not lost on me.

“I was greatly moved to meet and speak with the veterans during the event, including your grandfather… I want to thank him, not only for his years of service and campaigning, but also for bravely sharing his experiences with others.

“Unfortunately due to diary pressures, I am currently unable to meet you.


May 23, 2023 - Posted by | politics, weapons and war |

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: