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Volume 491: debated on Thursday 23 April 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy that no organisation be deterred from showing a cross or military emblems on war memorials on the grounds that to do so may offend ethnic minority groups; and if he will make a statement. (270377)

The Ministry of Defence officially commemorates the final resting place of all those who die in service and the UK Government contribute close to £40 million each year towards the work of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) to mark and maintain the graves, and the official memorials for those who have no known grave, of some 1.7 million Commonwealth Service personnel who died during the two World Wars. CWGC memorials, by design, carry no religious or military emblems.

The Department, however, does not have the responsibility for war memorials. This responsibility rests with the owner of the memorial, which is normally a local authority, a private individual or organisation.