February 8, 2011 12:32 PM

Local MP Mark Hunter has welcomed the announcement of a special debate in the House of Commons this week on the National Defence Medal for war veterans.

The recognition of war veterans has been a key issue for Mr Hunter since becoming an MP in 2005, and he has successfully helped hundreds of local servicemen and women in recent years obtain their service veterans badge.

When Servicemen and women take the oath or affirmation of allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen they are likely at any time to be called upon to make personal sacrifices. Many of these veterans believe their service in keeping this nation safe and secure has been forgotten and for years have been seeking recognition through the award of a UK 'National Defence Medal'.

Over 200 MPs including Mark Hunter have called for the National Defence Medal to be awarded as soon as possible, and an adjournment debate has now been secured in Parliament to press for our service men and women to be honoured. Mr Hunter is also a member of the Liberal Democrats Friends of the Armed Forces, which has long campaigned for recognition of the contribution of servicemen and women.

The National Defence Medal campaign is also supported by service organisations throughout the UK, by serving and retired service commanders, by public dignitaries and veteran icons such as Dame Vera Lynn who question why successive governments have failed to institute a medal which appropriately recognises our veterans.

Commenting, Mark said:

"I am delighted that a special parliamentary debate on this important issue has been secured, and I look forward to hearing what the Minister has to say.

"In my view, there is simply no valid reason for not supporting full recognition of the service given men and women who have contributed so much to our country over the years.

"Many local people have been directly involved in protecting our country, and it is right and proper that they are duly rewarded and I will continue to work hard in Parliament to see that they get the recognition they deserve."

Tony Morland the co-Chairman of the UK National Defence Medal campaign said:

"The NDM is symbolic in this government showing it means what it says in addressing the broken military covenant. Veterans understand in this climate of austerity, the medal will need to be self-financing and at no cost to the 'public purse'. However, we fail to understand why we are being denied such recognition when Her Majesty the Queen has awarded a defence medal to Australian and New Zealand regular and reserve forces together with their veterans".

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