|Honour for Falklands veterans
By Patrick Hennessy, Political Editor, Sunday Telegraph
Veterans badges are to be awarded to servicemen and women who fought in the Falklands War, the Government will announce this week.
The lapel insignia, worn with civilian dress, has only previously been given to those who joined the Armed Forces before December 1969, a period which includes the Second World War, the Korean War and the Suez conflict.
Gordon Brown will tell MPs that the date will be extended to 1982, in part to mark the 25th anniversary of the campaign to recapture the Falkland Islands in which 255 British and 655 Argentinian servicemen died. The conflict is credited with propelling Margaret Thatcher on to the international stage as a war leader and contributing to the landslide Conservative general election victory of 1983.
Members of the armed forces who served in Northern Ireland in the early years of the "Troubles" will also now be eligible for the honour, as will surviving "Bevin Boys", young men conscripted to work in coal mines from 1943 until the end of the Second World War instead of serving at the front line.
Some 48,000 men, including Sir Jimmy Savile and Lord Rix, served in the corps which took its name from the Labour wartime minister Ernest Bevin.
Mr Brown's move, ahead of Britain's second annual Veterans' Day on June 27, will put David Cameron, the Conservative leader, on the spot. Earlier this year, he accused the Chancellor of "offending our war heroes" by introducing an unwanted and unnecessary Veterans' Day "when we also have Remembrance Sunday".
Now that the time limit is being extended to include the Falklands, Mr Cameron risks alienating veterans of the conflict most closely associated with Baroness Thatcher if he repeats his opposition to the scheme.