Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Nuclear shame...

The story about MPs being barred from discussing the plight of Britain’s nuclear test veterans in Parliament was picked up in the Daily Mail today.

The veterans took part in our nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s and now suffer a range of diseases and illnesses as a result of being exposed to radiation.

Other countries like the USA and France – and even China and Russia – have paid out compensation to veterans who served similar roles. Meanwhile the UK Government refuses and is even fighting a court case to avoid doing so.

The Daily Mail story tells how previously veterans had relied on the support of MPs to speak out on the issue in Parliament. But after taking advice from the Ministry of Defence, the Commons Authorities - under the power of John Bercow - effectively barred any discussion on the subject.

The reason was that it would be “sub-judice” as the court battle for compensation is on-going. It’s a rather flimsy excuse because all the evidence has been heard in the case and a decision will be taken by three Appeal Court judges, not a jury, so legally speaking there is no chance of prejudicing the trial.

And anyway, there has already been Parliamentary discussion of veterans’ issues while legal proceedings in the case were active – it’s only since taking this most recent advice from the MoD that restrictions seem to have come into play.

The Mail picked up the story from the campaign website NuclearTestShame, which has been at the forefront on this issue.

Anyone who cares about how the MoD is treating these veterans, and also about freedom of speech, should check the website out and follow developments with them on Twitter.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its a shame that free speech has been controlled by the same MOD who have betrayed the brave men and women fighting for us today, it never seems to change, those who do the dirty work abused by the pin stripe fat cats

Discrace on all MPs

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