I am sure that the whole House will join me in paying tribute to the thousands who worked in munitions factories during both world wars. They produced vital equipment that helped us to final victory. 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 colleagues across the House to look at further ways of recognising the collective effort of former munitions workers.
My constituent Sue Wickstead wrote to me about her aunt, who worked in a munitions factory during the second world war, and I urge my hon. Friend to work with BEIS to ensure that munitions workers are properly commemorated for their bravery on behalf of our country’s freedom.
I am delighted to say that we are already in negotiations with the Department and will happily pursue that work.
Last year, I had the privilege and pleasure of meeting Ethel Parker, a 99-year-old former munitions worker from Swynnerton. She is incredibly proud of her service and will be 100 in May—I am sure she will forgive me for mentioning her age. For her and many others, time may well be running out, and they would very much want to be at the opening of a memorial, which would ideally not be in London so that they could visit it. Can we progress this issue as a matter of urgency, just as we have with other memorials, so that those involved can actually see the testament to their work to deliver victory in world war one and world war two?
Once again, I can only pay tribute to those constituents who played such an important part in the second world war—those who took part in world war one are no longer around—and I absolutely recognise the urgency. We had a similar issue when it came to the French Légion d’Honneur, so mechanisms are in place, but I will pursue this as a matter of urgency.