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Times’ letters: Stay safe and VE Day

PUBLISHED: 08:30 12 April 2020

Obey the coronavirus guidelines and help protect our NHS workers. Picture: PA Images

Obey the coronavirus guidelines and help protect our NHS workers. Picture: PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Letters, contributions and comments sent in from Times’ readers this week.

Stay home, save lives

Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn, writes:

We are in the middle of a national emergency.

With coronavirus posing an unprecedented threat to our health, economy and society, we are relying on the government to do its job well so that we can save lives and save jobs. It has never been more important to have a strong opposition to hold the government to account.

So, I am delighted that Keir Starmer has been elected as Labour Leader. Keir and I were both elected as MPs for the first time in 2015 and, as constituency neighbours, I have seen first-hand that he has the vision, experience and values to lead us through this crisis and rebuild trust in the Labour Party. That’s why I nominated him to be leader, and I was pleased that the Hampstead and Kilburn Labour Party did too.

As Keir has already said, Labour’s job in this crisis is to support the government when they get things right but ask the difficult questions when there are problems so that they can be fixed. Under Keir’s leadership, I know that the Labour Party will be a strong, effective opposition, and a force for good at this very difficult time for our country and the world.

I am particularly encouraged that Keir took his first opportunity as leader to apologise to the Jewish community for the Labour Party’s handling of antisemitism. That Keir spent his first day in the job reaching out to Jewish community leaders shows that he has a real understanding of what Labour has got wrong in recent years, and a real determination to put it right.

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Toast the heroes of WWII

Bruno Peek LVO OBE OPR, Pageantmaster, wrote to prime minister Boris Johnson:

Due to the cancellation and postponement of the VE Day 75 community celebrations because of the dreadful virus, I believe the following provides us all with a simple alternative, paying ‘tribute’ to the millions at home and abroad who gave so much to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedom we have today.

What I propose provides a way to celebrate and commemorate the anniversary, especially as there are two elements of the already planned VE Day 75 celebrations that could continue without problem if the media and Her Majesty’s government, led by our prime minister, would assist us.

Friday, MAY 8

• 2.55PM - Battle’s O’er: Live on TV, radio and through social media, a pre-recorded lone piper plays Battle’s O’er, the traditional march played on the pipes at the end of a battle, and VE 75 Years, the new march I had commissioned.

• 3PM - Speech by Prime Minister Churchill: Live on TV, radio and through social media, the recording of the famous speech made by Prime Minister Churchill, announcing the end of the war in Europe, broadcast in 1945.

• Following the speech and from home: Following the speech, and led by you as our prime minister from wherever you may be at this time, you would invite the many millions of individuals and families throughout the UK to stand and raise a cup of tea, soft drink or another of their choice and undertake the attached ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW II’, saying ‘thank you’ to the millions at home and abroad who gave so much to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedom we have today.

• National anthem: Following the toast, all would be invited to remain standing while the National Anthem is played.

I strongly believe the above would be the sort of alternative that Churchill would have undertaken during these uncertain times, providing our country with the unique opportunity to say ‘thank you’. I wish you and your family well over the next few difficult months.


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