25 June 2014:
Lord Gardiner of Kimble moved the Motion that this House takes note of the programme to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.
During the debate.....
Lord Faulkner of Worcester:
I express my appreciation to the Government and particularly to the Prime Minister’s special representative, Dr Andrew Murrison, for getting the programme up and running after it was first thought about in 2011. It was then that I was asked by the War Heritage All-Party Group, which I chair, to write to the Prime Minister because we were a little concerned that there seemed to be some lack of preparedness in the UK for the centenary, compared with what was being planned in other Commonwealth countries and in France and Flanders. That letter seemed to have some effect because, very soon after, I got a reply from Mr Cameron and Dr Murrison was appointed. Quite soon after that, the Government’s advisory board on the World War I centenary commemoration was established and I am very proud to be serving on it.
It is very much to Dr Murrison’s credit that the tone and content of the programme is correctly nuanced. That was very much reflected in the Minister’s speech this afternoon. It would be so easy to get this wrong but I do not think that we have. The theme of commemoration—not celebration—is absolutely right, as is the determination to combine traditional acts of remembrance with new initiatives to engage as much of the population as possible.
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