Munitions Workers (Award)

Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 29th March 2017.

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Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Chair, Committee of Selection 12:00 am, 29th March 2017

If she will introduce an award in recognition of the contribution made by munitions workers in the first and second world wars.

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I am sure everyone in the House will want to join me in paying tribute to the thousands who worked in munitions factories in both world wars, often in very dangerous conditions. They produced vital equipment for the armed forces that helped us to victory. I am sure my hon. Friend will recognise that, for practical reasons, it is not possible to pursue individual awards, but the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy would be happy to work with him to look at further ways of recognising the collective effort of former munitions workers.

Photo of Bill Wiggin Bill Wiggin Chair, Committee of Selection

I thank my right hon. Friend for that answer. These ladies found that the chemicals in the shells turned their skin yellow, and they were nicknamed canary girls. I know my right hon. Friend is exceptionally busy at the moment, but could she find just a few moments in her diary to meet me and some of these canary girls to recognise their service?

Photo of Theresa May Theresa May The Prime Minister, Leader of the Conservative Party

I would be very happy to meet some canary girls. As I said, their work was vital to the war effort. Their work was, in one sense, absolutely routine, but in another sense, it was extremely dangerous, and we should recognise their efforts.