Cold War veteran’s anger at minister

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A NUCLEAR test veteran from Moulton has criticised a Government minister’s attitude and called on him to stand up for the ex-servicemen he represents.

Douglas Hern, of Bell Lane, served at Christmas Island during the Cold War, where he witnessed first hand the devastation of atomic weapons tests.

He says he has been unable to meet Government Veterans’ Minister Andrew Robathan and accused him of “abusing parliamentary privilege” when he used an answer to a question in the House of Commons to criticise the veterans’ solicitors.

Veterans feel the exposure to radiation has caused them and their children to suffer illnesses and want compensation and an apology.

Mr Robathan told the Lincolnshire Free Press that he was not aware of Mr Hern’s specific case but the Tory MP for South Leicestershire, said: “We have great sympathy with people who do have illnesses but the readers would not expect us to be careless therefore we, as the last Government did, have to be very fair from the point of view of what money, if any, is warranted.

“There have been studies done on the link between the tests and the illnesses of ex-servicemen and I understand that you will find they tend to be healthier than their cohort.

“It is certainly not the case that people who attended the nuclear test have been dying prematurely and in large numbers – they haven’t.”

When asked why other countries, such as America, have offered compensation to their ex-servicemen, Mr Robathan replied that the UK looks after its former military personnel through the NHS. He also said veterans can apply for a war pension.

Mr Hern said: “He is the veterans minister but he doesn’t support us. He should support us, not fight us.”

Veterans will head to the High Court on July 28 to appeal for the right to sue the Government for compensation.