No longer if but when in long fight for recognition

Stephen Morgan MP

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan: Hectic start, but election is just the beginning

Surely it's no longer a case of if, but when. After 15 long years of fighting to get the medal they deserve, the Arctic Convoy veterans are closer than ever to victory.

Prime minister David Cameron may not have guaranteed it, but his words suggest nothing else but a medal.

In 2005, the then Labour government awarded the veterans an Arctic Star emblem, a lapel badge to be worn with other medals. Answering a question put by Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage in the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Cameron said: 'Many of them (veterans) are coming to the end of their lives and it would be good if we could do something more to recognise what they have done.'

That 'something more' has to be the medal the veterans so badly want as recognition of the brave and vital work they did during the Second World War, defying German attack to keep the Soviet Union supplied.

No wonder Portsmouth-based convoy veteran Commander Eddie Grenfell is delighted.

This indefatigable 90-year-old has fought long and hard for what he and his old comrades believe would be justice, an historical wrong righted.

Sadly their numbers have diminished over the years, but the remaining veterans and the families of those who are no longer with us can now look forward at long last to success.

We are delighted for them. The News has always been proud to stand alongside the veterans and support their dignified attempts to win the medal they should have been given all those years ago.

Getting a lapel badge was recognition of sorts, but it's the medal they really want and the medal they should get.

The veterans have support within parliament and senior Conservative MPs, including former party leaders Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, made pre-election promises that a medal would be awarded if the Tories came to power.

So, Mr Cameron, all we're waiting for now is an announcement of exactly when and how those promises are going to be met. Don't let the veterans down.

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