BUSINESS QUESTION – D-DAY ANNIVERSARY – 30 October 2003
[Mr Alan Meale: My right hon. Friend [Leader of the House, Peter Hain] is aware that 6 June next year marks the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings. Many hon. Members from both sides of the Chamber are worried about the organisation of that. As we approach Armistice Sunday, will he give us time for a full debate on the issue so that hon. Members' worries may be eased?
Mr Hain: I am grateful to my hon. Friend for raising the matter. We obviously want the 60th anniversary to be celebrated appropriately and be well organised because many people risked or gave their lives in that important episode and we will want to honour them appropriately. I shall ensure that those responsible listen to his point. … ]
Dr Julian Lewis: I thank the Leader of the House for his positive response to the hon. Member for Mansfield (Mr Meale) on the preparations for the 60th anniversary of D-Day, the last big opportunity for veterans to remember everything that went before and to commemorate those who died. The right hon. Gentleman may be unaware of the fact that the Royal British Legion states in unusually strong language that the present preparations are "nothing less than insulting" to the veterans because they are so low-key. In particular, it is anxious that this country should be represented at that commemoration event at the highest possible level, as the Americans will be. When he takes up the issue, will he emphasise that point?
[Mr Hain: I was not aware of that matter, but I shall certainly take it up because the interests and aspirations of the Royal British Legion need to be treated with the utmost seriousness, and they deserve proper reflection.]