SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon caused anger yesterday when she snubbed veterans and families of Afghanistan service personnel, including the 453 who died whilst serving, by skipping the Service of Remembrance at St Paul’s Cathedral.
The Scottish First Minister was sent an invitation by the Ministry of Defence to the prestigious occasion, which was attended by Her Majesty The Queen as well as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, who completed two operational tours of the country, the Daily Mail reports.
But instead of honouring the lives of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as soldiers and veterans whose lives have been irrevocably changed through through injury or mental illness, she chose to meet council leaders in Scotland – and tweet about her kitchen.
Families of Scottish soldiers reacted angrily to Ms Sturgeon refusing to attend either the main London ceremony or the service in Edinburgh’s Canongate Kirk, which ran in parallel with the service in St Paul’s, claiming she was not invited.
38 Scottish military personnel died while fighting with ISAF forces on OP HERRICK, as well as many who were injured. Widow Yvonne Cameron, who attended the service in Edinburgh to remember her husband, Colour Sergeant Alan Cameron of 1 SCOTS who died after being wounded by a roadside bomb, said it was “an insult” to their loved ones for Ms Sturgeon not to attend.
“I thought the First Minister would have been there,” she said.
Her father Stan Jackson said that “local politics can wait” because the ceremony was “a one-off” and “one of the most important things to do.”
Denise McCallum, whose brother, Lance Sergeant Dale McCallum also served in the Battalion when he was killed in 2010 said, “It isn’t right that she didn’t go.”
Afghanistan hero Ben Parkinson, who lost both legs and suffered severe brain damage when he was injured in a roadside blast in 2006 told Breitbart London: “Scottish soldiers are the bravest there are and are always where things are worst.”
The paratrooper who attended the service and reception at the Guildhall said Ms Sturgeon: “should have been proud to be asked to honour them.”
Instead of attending, the SNP leader sent Keith Brown, a former Royal Marine and Falklands veteran, to St Paul’s. But it wasn’t as though she was engaged in serious work while the service was ongoing, as she took to twitter to join in the joke about Labour leader Ed Miliband’s two kitchens writing:
“All questions about my kitchen should be directed to [husband] Peter Murrell – he is better acquainted than I am.”
She was questioned about her non attendance at the ceremony, instead going to the annual conference of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and the Improvement Service, but refused to answer, instead telling reporters to “Get in touch with my comms [press officers]”.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “The First Minister was unfortunately unable to attend the service due to another diary commitment.
“She asked Keith Brown, who has responsibility for veterans, to represent the Scottish Government on her behalf, to pay tribute to those who served and to those who lost their lives.”