David Cameron announced that Sir John Holmes will carry out a fresh, independent review taking account of the longstanding principles that have determined past decisions.
The existing guiding rules and principles for the awarding of military campaign medals are that:
• awards will not be considered after a period of five years has elapsed after a particular military action;
• individuals will not be rewarded twice for the same military campaign, i.e. no ‘double medalling’; and
• awards are based upon significant ‘risk and rigour’ for the individual concerned.
The Coalition Government stated its intention in its Programme for Government, published in May 2010, to review the rules governing the awarding of general campaign medals as a part of its commitment to rebuilding the Armed Forces Covenant.
The review will not consider individual gallantry awards, nor will it cover medals for long service or good conduct, which are the responsibility of parent government departmets.
The review should draw on, but not necessarily be guided by, the work already undertaken as part of an initial Ministry of Defence medal review.
Sir John, who is currently Director at the Ditchley Foundation and formerly served as the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency and as Her Majesty’s Ambassador in Paris and London, will be supported by a small team based in the Cabinet Office.
The review will ensure that all interested parties, including the veterans’ organisations, are fully consulted, and aims to deliver a report with recommendations where appropriate for any change by the summer to the Government.