British Nuclear Test Veterans: Service Medals

Cabinet Office – in the House of Commons on 12th November 2020.

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Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Conservative, North East Derbyshire

Whether his Department has made an assessment of the potential merits of service medals for British nuclear test veterans.

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

I appreciate how important medallic recognition is to so many of our veterans groups. There is an independent process that looks at the consideration of historical medal claims. That sub-committee restarted in 2018, and I know that it has received representations from nuclear test veterans. Those review recommendations will be made public as soon as possible.

Photo of Lee Rowley Lee Rowley Conservative, North East Derbyshire

I thank the Minister for his response. My constituent John Ward was one of many veterans sent there in 1957, and he has campaigned for many years for recognition of his work and also for acknowledgement through a medal. May I encourage the Minister to continue to do what he can to acknowledge the service of those veterans and to confirm that the recent Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill, which was passed, has no bearing or impact on their cause?

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

I have for some time been a supporter of his campaign, and I would urge him to continue in that vein. When it comes to the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill, there were a huge number of misunderstandings about this. It deals with people who are deployed on overseas operations. The nuclear test veterans were not deployed on overseas operations, and their ability to claim compensation for what happened to them is unaffected by this legislation.