HC Deb 23 July 2002 vol 389 cc907-8W
Gillian Merron

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the award of a general service medal to those who served in the armed forces in the Suez canal zone from 1951 to 1954. [72881]

Dr. Moonie

The Government consider it important to respect the principle that where there is a clear, demonstrable decision taken within five years of a campaign that a general service medal should not be awarded, that decision should not be reopened.

The evidence relating to consideration of a general service medal for the Suez canal zone is, however, less clear-cut. A number of representations have been made by the veterans of that campaign with which the Government have considerable sympathy.

In view of these exceptional circumstances, the Government are setting up a small sub-committee of HD Committee under the chairmanship of General Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank to report on the case for an exceptional award of a general service medal for the Suez canal zone without creating wider precedent or breaching long-standing principles which underpin the making of such awards.