Debate called by Norfolk MP to discuss how to mark WW1

PUBLISHED: 11:20 07 June 2013 | UPDATED: 11:24 07 June 2013

Head and shoulders of MP Keith Simpson

Head and shoulders of MP Keith Simpson


Commemorations of the first world war will next week be put into focus in a parliamentary debate called by Norfolk MP Keith Simpson.

The military historian, who sits on the prime minister’s advisory board for the first world war centenary, has secured an hour and a half slot in Westminster Hall on Tuesday on the subject of parliament and commemorating the first world war.

Mr Simpson, who is also commissioner for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, has been urging communities to mark the 100 year anniversary of the Great War.

Communities are being urged to remember the war which spanned from 1914 until 1918 and resulted a huge death toll both in the UK and across Europe and the world.

Mr Simpson said: “The debate is to talk about what parliament is going to do, and what it should do.

“Quite a bit of work is already is being done by the archivists and the education officers here.

“It is very much an opportunity to say to colleagues who are MPs, to help with work and events within their constituency and I shall use Norfolk as an example.”

He said that he will speak for about 20 minutes on the subject, but other MPs would be able to speak too.

He added: “The fact is it’s an opportunity to tease out a lot of things and publicity for Norfolk.

“I’ve already had discussions with EDP editor Nigel Pickover about what the EDP would like to do, and of course the newspaper is very enthusiastic about it.”

Mr Simpson has said the centenary is a great opportunity for young people to think about what happened 100 years ago and to discuss the first world war’s impact on Norfolk’s community.

Last October, the prime minister set out the government’s plans to mark the centenary of the first world war, commencing in 2014, which included plans to refurbish the first world war galleries at the Imperial War Museum.

Tom Brake, the deputy leader of the House of Commons, will answer the debate. The debatecomes after the Heritage Lottery Fund announced a £6m pot of cash to help communities to explore and conserve the heritage of the first world war and deepen their understanding of the conflict last month.

Organisations like the Western Front Association and many local villages have already carried out research on the conflict and schools have looked at the men behind the names on its village war memorial.

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