Council will call on PM for convoy veterans’ medal

PLEA Prime Minister David Cameron
PLEA Prime Minister David Cameron
The crash in Portsmouth Road, Cosham

Woman hurt in crash near Cosham McDonald’s

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THE fight to allow Arctic Convoy veterans to receive a medal from the Russians is going right to the top of government.

Portsmouth City Council yesterday decided it would write to the Prime Minister David Cameron.

It comes after the Russian Embassy told survivors of the Second World War campaign that it wants to give them the prestigious Medal of Ushakov.

But the British government has blocked the honour and is refusing to allow them to accept it.

A motion was carried unanimously at full council backing council leader cllr Gerald Vernon-Jackson to write to David Cameron and the foreign secretary William Hague.

And the council will continue supporting the award of a medal by the British government for the campaign.

Cllr Vernon-Jackson will also write to Sir John Holmes who is conducting a review into the honours system, due to be completed by the end of this year – which many veterans believe will be their last chance to gain recognition from the government.

Lib Dem Cllr Michael Andrewes, put the motion before the council and said: ‘I can’t understand why veterans from Australia and America are allowed to accept this medal from Russia, and yet, ours aren’t.

‘Time is even more of the essence now. I hope our government will finally pull its finger out and allow them to accept the medal.’

Lib Dem Cllr Darren Sanders seconded the motion and added: ‘It’s about common decency.

‘I don’t understand why the Arctic Convoy veterans have never been given medals.

‘I fear the reason behind this is about ideological zealots and bureaucratic pettiness.

It’s an injustice and it needs to be dealt with.’

Labour group leader Cllr Jim Patey said: ‘These veterans, those few who are left, are near the end of their lives.

‘It’s heartbreaking to think that this has been going on for so long and that successive governments have failed to support them.’

Tory Cllr Steve Wemyss added: ‘No party in this government or previous governments emerges from this well. I’m ashamed of my party for not supporting these Arctic veterans in their campaign for the medal they so richly deserve.

‘Our government doesn’t even seem capable of allowing them the recognition of a foreign government.’