MP looks forward to Defence Secretary meeting
Today at PMQs, John Baron MP asked the Prime Minister about the British nuclear test veterans. John and the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association (BNTVA) have been campaigning for official recognition for the test veterans’ service, and for a Government ex gratia payment of £25m to establish a Charitable Fund for veterans and their descendants – access to which would be available on the basis of need, not entitlement.
In the Chamber, John said,
“The Prime Minister has gone further than his predecessors in recognising our nuclear test veterans, but actions speak louder than words.”
“Given they have been poorly treated when compared to other countries and that one in three of their children have a serious medical condition, with 20% of conceptions ending prematurely, and in the hope this PMQ is third time lucky, will the Government now make an ex gratia donation of £25m into a Charitable Fund to help those veterans and descendants in need?”
“After all, we only had to ask them once to do their duty and stand in front of a nuclear bomb.”
The Prime Minister paid tribute to John for his campaigning, and said that this issue needs to be resolved, and that he had asked the Secretary of State of Defence to meet John to bring this issue to a close.
John said afterwards,
“I welcome the Prime Minister’s comments this afternoon, and look forward to further discussions. It is now time to put right this wrong.”
Nige Heaps, Chairman of the British Nuclear Test Veterans’ Association, said,
“We are heartened by the positive response of the Prime Minister today; this and other recent developments bring great hope to our veterans and families that their long campaign for recognition and support may soon be realised.”