CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

BUSINESS QUESTION – LETTERS OF CONDOLENCE – 3 December 2009

Dr Julian Lewis: Yesterday, the Prime Minister yet again damaged his serious message on terrorism by insisting on referring to something he always calls "Alky-Ada". Today, he is in trouble again over a botched letter of condolence to a bereaved service family. Given that the armed forces serve the Crown and not politicians, may we have a statement from a Constitutional Affairs Minister, confirming that it would be more appropriate if the Prime Minister kept out of letters of condolence to bereaved service families and if this be left, as it traditionally has been left, to the monarch?

[The Leader of the House of Commons (Ms Harriet Harman): As well as being the Prime Minister of this country, the Prime Minister is a human being who understands the dreadful bereavement of those who have lost a child. Indeed, when he has written to those families, he has written privately and has not sought to put those letters in the public domain. I really think that the hon. Gentleman, for whom I generally speaking have a great deal of respect, should not have put that question in that way. It does not help our troops, it does not help the terrible loss of bereaved families-and it does not help his party either.]