MP angered by comments on soldier's death in Afghanistan
PUBLISHED: 09:30 07 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:01 06 May 2010
COMMENTS by a Government Minister following an inquest into the death of Captain James Philippson in Afghanistan have angered St Albans MP Anne Main. Capt Philippson from Bricket Wood was the first British soldier to die in the present conflict in Helmand
COMMENTS by a Government Minister following an inquest into the death of Captain James Philippson in Afghanistan have angered St Albans MP Anne Main.
Capt Philippson from Bricket Wood was the first British soldier to die in the present conflict in Helmand province. He was shot in the head during a firefight with the Taliban in June 2006.
At his inquest last month the coroner recorded a narrative verdict in which he said that Capt Philippson was unlawfully killed and he accused the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of breaching British soldiers' trust by sending them to Afghanistan without basic equipment.
After the verdict, Capt Philippson's father, Anthony, said that he held the MoD responsible for his son's death.
Now Anne Main wants the Minister for the Armed Forces Bob Ainwsworth to retract comments made following the inquest in which it was suggested that the death was partly due to the actions of Capt Philippson's commanding officer, Major Bristow.
Mrs Main said on the BBC this week: "It is regrettable that despite the coroner's verdict and the evidence given at the inquest which seems to counter the opinion published in the Board of Inquiry report, Bob Ainsworth seems unwilling to accept that lack of appropriate equipment was the cause of James' death. The Minister has continued to selectively stick to comments in the Army Board of Inquiry report and not address the coroner's verdict which firmly placed the blame at the door of the Government.
"I agree with Capt Philippson's father that this selective view of the truth is less than helpful, and is at best inaccurate and at worst disrespectful to his son's memory. Major Bristow was a friend of James. He was not blamed by the coroner, and James' family do not blame him. It seems inappropriate that the Minister should seek to duck the issue in this way and I have called on him to make a formal apology, to withdraw his inaccurate comments, and correct them.