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Service Veterans

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) parliamentary questions have been tabled, (b) enquiries have been received from hon. Members, (c) early day motions have been tabled, (d) petitions have been presented, with the total number of signatories, (e) representations have been received from organisations representing veterans and (f) representations have been received from members of the public calling for the award of a medal for those who served in the Suez Canal Zone in the early 1950s, since May 1997; and if he will make a statement. [117420]

Since May 1997 the Ministry of Defence has responded to approximately 27 parliamentary questions, 510 letters from hon. Members and seven early-day motions on the subject of a campaign medal for those who served in the Suez Canal Zone in the early 1950s. In addition, 415 representations have been received from members of the public, a number of whom undoubtedly represented the views of one or more of the several Canal Zone veterans organisations, though it would not be possible to differentiate between them and letters from individuals. One petition was presented to the MOD by my hon. Friend the Member for Denton and Reddish (Andrew Bennett) in 1998, containing approximately 20,000 signatures.As the hon. Member is fully aware; the matter of a campaign medal for the Canal Zone presently rests with the HD Committee and not with the Ministry of Defence. The Committee is deliberating on recommendations submitted by a special sub-committee created late last year for the sole purpose of reviewing the case for a Canal Zone medal and will publish its decision, subject to the Queen's approval, very soon.