A VICTORY for truth was claimed by Labour/Co-op peer Lord Morris after an independent inquiry into illnesses that affected over 6,000 Gulf War veterans were linked to a cocktail of injections.
Lord Morris of Manchester has fought for 13 years for an independent inquiry to "unravel the truth" about "Gulf War syndrome", which came about after soldiers were given injections to protect against threats of chemical warfare in the 1990-91 Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
The inquiry that was set up by Lord Morris in June this year, funded by an anonymous backer and without Government support, has published its findings.
In a major victory for campaigners, who have tried to get the illnesses officially recognised, Lord Lloyd of Berwick, chair of the inquiry, said that the complaints of veterans and their families were justified.
After the publication of the report Lord Morris told the News: "This is a major development in the case of Gulf War illnesses. In the sad story of veterans though, thousands of them have still individually unexplained illnesses. Many have died waiting for an independent inquiry.
"This report has been eagerly awaited by everyone concerned to ensure just treatment ? no more, no less ? for the thousands of veterans of the 1990-91 Gulf conflict.
"It is cause for deep concern, first, that it took 14 years from the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait that started the conflict for an inquiry to be launched; and second, that the inquiry had to be set up with no support from the government departments principally involved."
Former judge Lord Lloyd paid tribute to Lord Morris for his persistence in getting an independent inquiry set up and his "extraordinary career".
Lord Morris, a former Co-op MP and minister for the disabled, has opened all Gulf War syndrome debates in the Houses of Parliament and was a founder member of the inter-Parliamentary Gulf War Group.
The purpose of the group is to focus Parliamentary and public attention on the problems and needs of Gulf Veterans with war-related illnesses.
In 1997 the Royal British Legion called for the Government to set up a public inquiry to investigate the circumstances surrounding these illnesses and their possible causes. Since then Lord Morris has pressed the Government on numerous occasions for an inquiry.
But on each occasion he was told that the time for an inquiry was not yet right.
Said Lord Morris: "Justice delayed has already meant justice denied for those, like the late Major Ian Hill ? founder chairman of the Gulf War Veterans and Families Association ? who have already died after being told by Whitehall that their illnesses were ?all in the mind'.
"The publication the report has a significance beyond ending the deadlock over Gulf War illnesses. Until now, if executive government refused an independent inquiry, it was ?end of story'. Lord Lloyd's report ends that veto."
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