Call for two-minute doorstep Remembrance Sunday silence backed by politicians

Call for two-minute doorstep Remembrance Sunday silence backed by politicians

This year’s Remembrance Sunday is going to be a lot different due to the Covid pandemic.

For the first time in its 100-year history members of the public will be barred from the Cenotaph wreath-laying, while community Royal British Legion parades throughout the UK have been cancelled.

The Mirror is campaigning to ensure our fallen forces heroes are remembered for their sacrifice by appealing to the nation to stand outside their homes in silence for two minutes at 11am on November 8.

And now political leaders from across the aisles have backed the call.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “The pandemic will not stop us from honouring the sacrifice and valour of our veterans, the bravest of the brave, the best of what it means to be British.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer added: “We can still honour our heroes.”

The Cenotaph service will be limited to a small number of armed forces veterans, members of the Royal Family, and political leaders.

England’s three-tier alert level system provides an exemption for Remembrance Sunday events, but social distancing will limit commemorations.

Mr Johnson said: “November is the time of year we usually stand side by side to remember the millions of men and women from across Britain and the Commonwealth who fought for our freedoms in the First World War, from the muddy trenches of the Western Front to the munitions factories at home.

“Unfortunately, this year, it is with a heavy heart that I must ask the public not to attend the ceremony at the Cenotaph in order to keep veterans safe, and reduce the spread of the virus.

“That’s why I am backing the Mirror’s campaign – let’s stand together in solidarity on doorsteps across the country this Remembrance Sunday.”

Labour leader Mr Starmer said: “Remembrance Sunday is our chance as a nation to stand together to remember the millions of people from across the United Kingdom, and from across the world, who sacrificed so much to keep us safe.

“In normal times, we would be paying tribute to our armed forces at the Cenotaph or at events organised by the Royal British Legion.

“This year we cannot do that – this year we cannot stand together.

“But like The Mirror has said, we can still pay our respects by standing on our doorsteps at 11am on Remembrance Sunday to mark the two-minute silence. We can still remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and who we will never forget.”

The SNP’s Westminster Leader Ian Blackford also backed the campaign: “I’m pleased to support the Daily Mirror campaign.

“As we work together to get through the coronavirus crisis, we must never forget the huge sacrifices made by previous generations and those being made today by the brave women and men in our armed forces.

“I will be at the Cenotaph, alongside other political leaders, to pay respects on behalf of the SNP.

“But with public health measures in place, I hope people across Scotland and the United Kingdom can pay tribute from our doorsteps.”

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: “The Mirror’s campaign to encourage us all to stand on our doorsteps is a good way to pay our thanks to veterans, the members of our armed forces and their families for the sacrifices they have made.”

The Democratic Unionist Party’s Westminster leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said: “I know from speaking with constituents in Northern Ireland that remembrance is important to them and this suggestion would offer a way for all of us to pay tribute to the men and women who have sacrificed so much.”

The Green Party’s Caroline Lucas said: “I can’t think of a better act of remembrance than paying a silent tribute on our doorsteps.

“It’s where we acknowledged our debt to NHS and care workers this year, and it’s where we can acknowledge our debt to those who lost their lives in past conflicts.” Liz Saville Roberts, Plaid Cymru’s group leader at Westminster, added: “The pandemic has reminded us of the fragility of life and the importance of coming together in times of adversity.

“Standing at the doorsteps of our homes is the proper way to show respect and stay safe in 2020.”

Veterans minister Johnny Mercer told Times Radio: “It’s a really good opportunity for people to remember in their own homes.”