HC Deb 18 December 1968 vol 775 cc1369-70
26. Mr. Woodnutt

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will offer travel facilities to the parents of the late Lance-Corporal E. Mills, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, killed in the Persian Gulf, to visit their son's grave in Sharjah, in view of the fact that Lance-Corporal Mills's widow is unable to travel.

Mr. Boyden

I wrote to the hon. Member on 20th November and explained why I cannot make this offer.

Mr. Woodnutt

I am aware of the Minister's letter, but could not the Gov- ernment exercise a little compassion in cases such as this? Will the Minister accept that a mother's love for her son can be as great as a wife's love for her husband, and that if the wife was too emotionally upset to make this trip it would be reasonable to let the mother go instead?

Mr. Boyden

The Government have very much improved the arrangements in this sort of case. The position is not as simple as the hon. Gentleman says. I am sympathetic to the case, but the fact, as he knows, is that Mrs. Mills, Junior, may feel inclined to visit her husband's grave at a later date, and it would be wrong to pre-empt that situation if, in say six or eight months, she feels able to go, and then wishes to go with her mother-in-law or father-in-law.