MoD under fire over Red Cap deaths
AN EAST Anglian MP has condemned the Ministry of Defence for a "lack on transparency" following the deaths of six Royal Military Policemen in Iraq. Bob Russell, MP for Colchester, has put his name to a motion which is severely critical of the MOD's board of inquiry that investigated the circumstances of the Colchester-based soldiers' deaths in June 2003.
AN EAST Anglian MP has condemned the Ministry of Defence for a "lack on transparency" following the deaths of six Royal Military Policemen in Iraq.
Bob Russell, MP for Colchester, has put his name to a motion which is severely critical of the MOD's board of inquiry that investigated the circumstances of the Colchester-based soldiers' deaths in June 2003.
The Red Caps were brutally killed at the hands of an Iraqi mob as they manned a small police station in Al Majar Al-Kabir.
Some of the victims' relatives have accused the Army of a cover up and at a news conference last week.
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Mr Russell is one of four MPs to put forward the early day motion – a method by which politicians can draw attention to an issue which is not expected to be debated.
Earlier this month, Gemma Long, the widow of Corporal Paul Long of Colchester, spoke to the EADT of her anger at what had happened.
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"We have been saying all along if the Army had bothered to take note of what had been going on they would not have sent them out there (to Al Majar) and they would still have been alive," she said.
The motion states asks that the House: "Condemns the Ministry of Defence Board of Inquiry into the deaths of the six Royal Military Policeman at Al Majar Al-Kabir on June 24, 2003, for its lack of transparency; further condemns the lack of an independent inquiry on this matter, acknowledges the six victims' lack of defensive armaments, efficient communication equipment and supplies, calls on the Ministry of Defence to acknowledge the courage and bravery of these six men and further calls for a full, independent inquiry into their deaths."
A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said he could not respond specifically to the early day motion.
He said: "In terms of independent inquiries, a coroners' inquest is to be set by the Oxfordshire Coroner and we have always said that will be the independent enquiry in which the families will have the chance to be represented legally and pursue whatever line of enquiry they wish.
"The board of inquiry was mainly an internal procedure to establish facts and improve procedures to prevent something like the events in Al Majar ever happening again."
The six who died in Iraq were: Cpl Long, 24, from Colchester, Sgt Simon Hamilton-Jewell, from Chessington, Surrey; Cpl Russell Aston, 30, from Swadlincote, Derbyshire; Cpl Simon Miller, 21, from Washington, Tyne and Wear; L-Cpl Benjamin John McGowan Hyde, 23, from Northallerton, North Yorks; and L-Cpl Thomas Richard Keys, 20, from Bala, Wales.