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Terror attack heroes will not get medal

11.02.08

Gordon Brown has delivered a snub to three of the heroes who helped foil the Glasgow Airport terror attack, the Scottish Sunday Mail reports. As previously reported, the families of Michael Kerr, Stephen Clarkson and Alex McIlveen have been campaigning for them to receive the Queen's Gallantry Medal - as has been awarded to airport worker John Smeaton last year. But their request has been rejected in a letter from the Cabinet Office, which claimed their actions were not brave enough.

The letter, signed by the high-ranking official who advises the PM on medals, stated that the men's actions ‘though praise-worthy, did not reach the standard for a gallantry award’.

Michael, 40, suffered a broken leg and smashed teeth when he helped fight off the attackers. Stephen, 41, wrestled driver Kafeel Ahmed to the ground. And taxi driver Alex, 45, tore a tendon in his foot as he kicked out at Ahmed.

The men's families reacted with fury to the Prime Minister's latest snub. Michael's wife Annette, who first approached Mr. Brown about the honour, told the newspaper: ‘I am furious. The letter said there had to be a conscious decision to go forward knowing the risk for a considerable length of time rather than simply being 'caught up in events'.

‘How they could judge that Michael and Stephen and Alex don't fit this, while John does? It belittles what they did. This is not to take anything away from John but I take it as a personal insult to my husband Alex and Stephen.’

Baggage handler Mr. Smeaton, 31, backed the families' campaign and supported the letter sent to the Prime Minister. He was given the medal - one of the highest bravery honours that can be awarded to a civilian - last year in the midst of worldwide recognition for his role in the attack.

Mr. Smeaton told the newspaper: ‘We all behaved in exactly the same way. It is wrong that I'm the only one to get the medal because the others are equally as deserving. I disagree with this decision.’

Stephen Clarkson's brother David said: ‘This is totally unfair. I know Stephen feels he has been treated shabbily.’ And fellow hero Alex asked: ‘If we didn't do enough to justify an award, then what did John do that was different? This is disgraceful.’

A Cabinet Office official told the newspaper: ‘We will not discuss individual honours or gallantry cases. The government hold in the highest regard the selfless actions of everyone involved in foiling the bombing incident at Glasgow Airport.’

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