Tag Archives: Armed Forces

Mark Reckless MP ‘Delighted’ To Present Medal To Local Hero

Mark Reckless MP with local hero James Hargreaves. Photo copyright: Medway Messenger.

Mark Reckless MP with local hero James Hargreaves. Photo copyright: Medway Messenger.

Mark Reckless MP was delighted to present local hero James Hargreaves with his GSM Medal with clasp Near East after taking up his case with the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

James, of Cliffe Woods, had previously been unable to get the MoD to accept his claim for the medal following his service with the 40th Field Regiment Royal Artillery during the Suez Crisis in 1956.

Mr Hargreaves sailed out from Cardiff on the US ship S.S. Kingsbury to the conflict zone with a small complement from his Regiment.

Although the ship was on the list of those eligible for the GSM with Near East clasp, the MoD had previously turned down James’s request for the medal as the deployment was not shown on his service record.

In a bid to resolve the situation James turned to Mark Reckless to help break the deadlock with the MoD, and Mark was more than happy to take up the case on behalf of his constituent.

After contacting the Medal Office asking them to review Mr Hargreaves’ case, the MoD wrote back to advise they would look into the matter. Shortly thereafter the MoD confirmed that, following Mark’s intervention, they had agreed to issue the medal to James for his service during the Suez Crisis.

Speaking after meeting Mr Hargreaves, Mark said:

“I was absolutely delighted when I heard that the Medal Office had agreed to issue Mr Hargreaves with his GSM with clasp Near East.

Mr Hargreaves had tried for a long time to get the Ministry of Defence to review his claim for the medal, but had had no joy in doing so and subsequently asked for my assistance.

I was able to write to the MoD as Mr Hargreaves’ Member of Parliament to insist they look into the case, and I am glad to report that the matter has now been resolved to my constituent’s satisfaction.

Being able to help people like Mr Hargreaves was the primary reason why I entered politics. Casework is a large part of the role of being an MP, and I am honoured to be in the position to help a local hero like James gain the recognition he so richly deserves.

It was an absolute pleasure to meet James in person and thank him for his service to our country. I hope the medal will be a source of pride and pleasure for him for many years to come.”

In response to the meeting, James Hargreaves said:

“I’d like to thank Mark most sincerely for his help and assistance in procuring my GSM and clasp Near East. I am sure that without Mark’s help I would still be trying to obtain it.

Thank you again.”

Mark Reckless MP with local hero James Hargreaves

Mark Reckless MP with local hero James Hargreaves

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VIDEO: Christmas message to our Armed Forces

Video courtesy of Winkball

Scholarships For Children Of Deceased Military Personnel

George Osborne and Liam Fox yesterday announced that a Conservative government will provide university and further education scholarships for the children of servicemen and women killed while on active duty.

These scholarships will pay for the full tuition fees and other costs as they study at vocational college or university.

Commenting on the policy announcement, Mark Reckless said:

“From the Rochester and Strood perspective I am particularly delighted that the children of Royal Engineers who have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan so recently may benefit from this initiative.”

This policy will apply from day one of a Conservative government – and it will also apply retrospectively to the children of all military personnel killed since 1990. This will provide reassurance and financial help for the families of servicemen and women killed while serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and elsewhere.

The scholarships, which will cost a maximum of £1.5 million per year, will be fully funded from the £455 million annual Widening Participation budget. They complement existing Conservative measures to support the military and their families, including doubling the operational allowance to £4,800 for a six-month tour, and piloting a Mental Health Service for veterans who have been deployed on operations.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, said “I’ve just visited our brave men and women serving in Afghanistan, and witnessed their commitment and determination at first hand. That’s why I’m so determined to provide more help for the families of military personnel who have lost their lives serving our country.”

Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox added that this was “a clear sign” of “our commitment to the Military Covenant”.

“Our duty of care extends not only to those serving in our Armed Forces but to their dependants. For those fighting for our security, they have a right to know that if the worst happens their families will be properly cared for.”

Sir Hugh Lays Down The (Wrong) Law

I don’t want to intrude on the Labour party’s private grief, so I will instead respond to Sir Hugh Orde, President of the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) who, for some reason, has taken it on himself to lay down what should happen regarding Islam4UK’s threatened march through Wootton Basset.

Sir Hugh is quoted today in the Telegraph as saying that the extremists “have the right to march … people might not like it but that is the law”.

Leaving aside whether that is consistent with the postion Sir Hugh took as Chief Constable in Northern Ireland, my first reaction is what on earth has it got to do with him.

Sir Hugh Orde heads an organisation which is a private company and has never been given any right to seek to interfere with police operational decisions, any more than it has a right to determine police policy.

By saying he would be “surprised” if they were to block the protest, Sir Hugh applies quite inappropriate pressure to Wiltshire’s Chief Constable, Brian Moore, and his excellent deputy, David Ainsworth, with whom I worked when he was an Assistant Chief Constable in Kent.

Sir Hugh is always terribly keen to assert the independence of chief constables when there is any suggestion that they should do what someone who has been elected wants, yet here he is sticking his nose into their operational decisions.

Second, there is a strong argument that Sir Hugh has got the law wrong. Section 13 of the Public Order Act 1986 states as follows:

13.— Prohibiting public processions.

(1) If at any time the chief officer of police reasonably believes that, because of particular circumstances existing in any district or part of a district, the powers under section 12 [imposing conditions] will not be sufficient to prevent the holding of public processions in that district or part from resulting in serious public disorder, he shall apply to the council of the district for an order prohibiting for such period not exceeding 3 months as may be specified in the application the holding of all public processions (or of any class of public procession so specified) in the district or part concerned.

(2) On receiving such an application, a council may with the consent of the Secretary of State make an order either in the terms of the application or with such modifications as may be approved by the Secretary of State.

Contrary to Sir Hugh’s view, the police in Wiltshire therefore do potentially have the power to ban a march – if the democratically elected local council and the democratically elected Secretary of State agree with them.

Further, it is far from clear that Sir Hugh can rely on the Human Rights Act in support of his view that Islam4UK should be allowed to protest at Wootton Basset in the manner threatened. Section 3(2)(b) states very clearly that the act “does not affect the validity, continuing operation or enforcement of any incompatible primary legislation”.

Moreover, the article 11 right is hedged with restrictions such that it should in any event be compatible with the power of Wiltshire police and those whom we elect to ban a march as threatened:

Article 11 – Freedom of assembly and association

1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This Article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.

We will shortly be asking the electorate for a mandate on what needs to be done to make the police properly accountable to the public they serve. Sir Hugh’s comments emphasise just how overdue that is.

Tickets for Troops

Mark Reckless is proud to be supporting Tickets for Troops

David Cameron has helped to launch Tickets for Troops, a new initiative which offers the Armed Forces free tickets to big events including football matches and top music acts.

Thousands of tickets will be made available to all serving military personnel and to veterans who have been discharged through injury since 2001 at the new

David explained that Ticket for Troops is “all about people coming together to say to the armed forces: thank you, we respect you and we recognise the sacrifice you are making for us.”

The Conservative leader first announced his ambition for this scheme in July 2009, and Tickets for Troops has since been set up as an independent not-for-profit company with huge support from the sports and entertainment worlds.

Tickets have been donated for top football and cricket matches, boxing contests, snooker, horse-racing events, theatre, and both classic and rock music concerts around the country.

Speaking at the launch, where he was joined by Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry VC, Gary Lineker and Joss Stone, David said:

I’m proud of the part the Conservative Party has played in getting this off the ground and want to thank everyone for generously lending their time and support to this great cause.”