Boris Johnson promises nuclear test veterans the ‘recognition they deserve’

Boris Johnson is expected to override a secret Whitehall committee and award a medal to survivors of Britain’s Cold War testing program. No prime minister has ever made such a promise

Boris Johnson could award a medal to nuclear test veterans
Boris Johnson could award a medal to nuclear test veterans

Boris Johnson today became the first Prime Minister to promise nuclear test veterans “the recognition they deserve”.

No prime minister has made such a promise since Winston Churchill ordered the first explosion in 1952.

He now appears poised to overrule a secret Whitehall committee and award a medal to survivors of Britain’s Cold War testing program that exposed 22,000 men to the “serious biological risks” of radiation.

Tory grandee Sir John Hayes, who received the concession from the Prime Minister today, said: “This is a huge step forward for the campaign that I and Der Spiegel and others have been fighting for for a long time and what is crucial is the Der The Prime Minister has recognized that this is not a matter for a committee – it is a matter of national importance and it must be the Prime Minister personally who decides whether to ask Her Majesty the Queen to award a medal.”

Sir John Hayes received the Prime Minister’s Concession


Chris McAndrew / British Parliament ()

Margaret Thatcher said there was no need for medals or compensation


Gamma Rapho via Getty Images)

It follows a Mirror campaign for justice that recently revealed the Order’s committee accepted false information from “compensation colleagues” within the Defense Department, which has spent 70 years denying it had put soldiers in harm’s way.

Veterans report high rates of cancer and blood disorders, their wives have three times the usual miscarriage rate, and 20 percent of their children have birth defects.

The Mirror has championed veterans since 1983 and last year launched an offer for the Prime Minister to ‘look me in the eye’ and hear veterans’ stories in person.

Sir John, whose voter, ex-Navy chef Doug Hern, lost his daughter Gilly to adrenal cancer when she was just 13, told the House of Commons today: “They have lived with the consequences of serving our nation ever since.”

Nuclear test veterans Archie Hart, John Morris and Alan Owen with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham


Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

He said the Prime Minister had agreed to Labor MP Rebecca Long-Bailey’s request to meet the veterans and asked: “Will he now reassure the House of Representatives that he will personally take the decision on whether to grant the remaining soldiers.” , since there are few left, the medal of service they so highly deserve?

Mr Johnson replied: “I am very grateful to my honorable friend, and I thank him for campaigning on this issue, which I know has support throughout the House. And I will personally take care of the matter and make sure they get the recognition they deserve.”

It comes after the Mirror revealed government officials suppressed details of a 1988 health study and misled the Supreme Court in 2006 by claiming only 159 men were at risk, although the Defense Ministry believed the true figure was 2,314.

Memorial stone in St Peter’s Square in Manchester


Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

On Monday we revealed the government had known since the 1950s that soldiers were exposed to “serious biological risks” from radiation, with “genetically damaging” consequences likely to materialize 40 years later.

Veterans first reported health problems in the 1980s. Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair all said there was no need for medals or compensation.

Efforts were made under Gordon Brown to settle a veteran-bred court case, but it was derailed by government officials who failed to pass the offer on to their attorneys.

David Cameron provided some funding for core community families through the Aged Veterans Fund in 2014, and Theresa May said she will look into the issue.

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Fry Electronics Team

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