Ian Paisley MP has called on the House of Commons to do more to celebrate the actions of those military personnel who have been awarded the Victoria Cross.
Mr Paisley’s request comes off the back of Wednesday’s announcement that Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey is to be awarded the medal in recognition of his extraordinary bravery in Afghanistan, becoming only the 15th soldier to be honoured with a Victoria Cross since the 2nd World War.
The North Antrim MP made reference to Private Robert Quigg from Bushmills who was awarded the Victoria Cross for his “most conspicuous bravery” at the Battle of the Somme.
The MP commented “Tomorrow night in North Antrim we will be celebrating the life and times of Private Quigg who in 1916 won a Victoria Cross for conspicuous valour at the Somme. Yesterday we read the wonderful news of Lance Corporal Leakey who has received the most recent V.C. Does the Leader of the House plan to do anything here formally to celebrate the achievements of this modern day hero and indeed other heroes who have won the V.C so as parliament can pay respects to these wonderful people?”
William Hague MP who was responding to Ian Paisley’s comments very much supported the request, stating “Mr Paisley draws attention to an individual that I think the whole nation will be extremely proud of. We should give consideration as to how this House should recognise those who receive V.C’s and other medals for valour and gallantry.”
Speaking after the debate the North Antrim MP added “The stories of Lance Corporal Leakey and Private Quigg bear striking resemblances to each other in the sense of disregarding one’s own safety to tend to injured colleagues. While Private Quigg set out in to no mans land seven times to try and rescue his platoon commander, Lance Corporal Leakey Made three trips up and down a hillside towards the Taliban lines to rescue both an injured American colleague and to gather weaponry to mount an offensive on the enemy”.
The Military of Defence this morning described Lance Corporal Leakey as single-handedly changing the course of that entire operation, which was eventually successful with the injured American soldier being the only casualty of the operation whilst eleven insurgents were killed.
Mr Paisley concluded “I am delighted that the Leader of the House agreed with me that more should be done to recognise our military heroes here in parliament and I will actively pursue the calls I have made to ensure that nobody forgets the sacrifices our military make for our freedom in this most poignant of periods of remembrance.”