22 June 2023

Minister wants nuclear test veterans to have medals by Remembrance Day

22 June 2023

The veterans minister has said he will be “extremely disappointed” if nuclear test veterans do not receive their long-awaited medals by Remembrance Day.

Johnny Mercer, a minister in the Cabinet Office, was speaking in the Commons after an MP said a constituent of theirs had not received their medal in time for Armed Forces Week.

The Government announced in November last year that those who took part in the UK’s atomic bomb test operations would receive medals.

An estimated 22,000 veterans and civilians were made eligible for the Nuclear Test Medal, which has been introduced to mark the 70th anniversary of the nation’s first atomic test.

Conservative former minister David Duguid, speaking in the Commons at a session of questions to Cabinet Office ministers, said: “British nuclear test veterans… welcomed the news earlier this year that they would finally be awarded a commemorative medal.”

The MP for Banff and Buchan said he had a constituent who applied for a medal “at the soonest opportunity” but who has not received it in time for Armed Forces Week.

Mr Duguid sought assurances that “medals will be received in time for Remembrance Sunday” on November 12.

Minister for veterans’ affairs Mr Mercer said: “I recognise that the medallic recognition has taken a long time actually to achieve.

“And this Government, for the first time in 60 years, has delivered on that medallic recognition.

“I want to make sure that those medals are in the hands of veterans who deserve them.

“I recognise the concerns around delays.

“I will be extremely disappointed if medals are not on the chest of nuclear test veterans at Remembrance Day this year.”

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