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K Harvey Proctor: Watson helped to smear a D-Day hero – and Starmer gave him a peerage | Conservative Home

K Harvey Proctor was MP for Basildon from 1979 to 1983 and for Billericay from 1983 to 1987.

As we commemorate the brave souls who stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, I reflect on the life and legacy of Field Marshal Edwin Bramall.

Lord Bramall’s life was one of remarkable public service and dedication. He fought valiantly during World War II, participating in the Normandy landings in June 1944, and served with distinction in Northwest Europe. For his gallantry, he received the Military Cross on March 1, 1945, just before the end of the war in Europe.

Lord Bramall’s distinguished military career culminated in his appointment as Chief of the Defence Staff from 1982 to 1985. His influence extended beyond the military; he served in the House of Lords for 26 years, contributing to parliamentary debate and public policy with wisdom and experience.

Despite my own eventful life and the many notable individuals I have encountered, I do not recall ever having the privilege of meeting Lord Bramall.

Thus, I was astonished and deeply honoured to receive an invitation from his family to attend a service of thanksgiving at Winchester Cathedral on 27 April. The service, graced by the presence of Lady Diana Brittan and other dignitaries, was a poignant tribute to a man of great stature.

The service, set against the majestic backdrop of Winchester Cathedral, was a moving testament to Bramall’s legacy. Military music provided by the Band and Bugles of The Rifles added a stirring touch. The vivid colours of the clerical robes contrasted with the sombre tones of dark suits and black dresses, creating an atmosphere of solemn grandeur.

Army veterans stood shoulder to shoulder with members of the Royal Family, paying their respects to a soldier, statesman, and parliamentarian.

For me, the service was a moment of profound reflection. Amidst the grandeur, I contemplated the horrors of the past eight years, finding solace in solitude despite being surrounded by over a thousand attendees. It was a fitting remembrance of a greater soldier and a greater man.

However, the narrative of Lord Bramall’s life was not without its trials. In 2015, we found ourselves linked by the most heinous of circumstances. On 4 March of that year, 20 police officers descended upon his home in the small village of Crondall.

His wife, Lady Avril Bramall, then 93 and suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, was subjected to the indignity of being moved from room to room as officers ransacked their home. This senseless act left Lady Bramall distraught and disoriented, and she passed away without knowing that her husband was innocent.

Lord Bramall’s ordeal continued as he faced the false accusations of Carl Beech, who was later sentenced to 18 years in prison for fraud, paedophile offences, and perverting the course of justice. During these dark days of Operation Midland, many rallied around Lord Bramall, including Her Majesty, the late Queen Elizabeth II.

In a powerful gesture of support, the Queen hosted members of the Order of the Garter for lunch and insisted that Lord Bramall sit beside her. This act of solidarity was a testament to his integrity and the high regard in which he was held.

In his final months, Bramall was troubled by the thought that his grandchildren and future generations would find his name tarnished by false accusations when they searched for him online. He asked his son, Nicolas, “I’m not a bad chap, am I?”

This poignant question underscores the pain of a man whose honour had been unjustly questioned. Yet, what should endure is the memory of a devoted public servant and a distinguished soldier.

This is why it is reprehensible that Tom Watson, a perpetrator of Carl Beech’s lies, has since been enriched and ennobled. Watson weaponised the issue of child sexual abuse to further his career, ultimately becoming Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, and used parliamentary privilege to incite a moral panic with claims of a “powerful paedophile network linked to parliament and Number 10.”

It is ghastly that Sir Keir Starmer nominated Watson for a peerage, blatantly disregarding the House of Lords Appointments Commission’s refusal in 2020 when Watson was nominated by Jeremy Corbyn. This decision reveals a disturbing preference for cronyism and a complete lack of sound judgment and empathy.

Watson now sits on the same benches as those he traduced, including Lord Bramall and Leon Brittan, the former Home Secretary. This is an insult to their memory, innocence, and subsequent vindication – a true stain on the House of Lords.

The actions of Starmer and Watson demonstrate they cannot be trusted.

But we must remember Lord Bramall, and ensure that his legacy is not overshadowed by the injustices he suffered. His family can take solace in the knowledge that he was one of Britain’s most devoted public servants. From the beaches of Normandy to the halls of the House of Lords, Lord Bramall’s contributions to his country were immeasurable.

Lord Bramall, we thank you for your service and sacrifice. Your legacy will continue to inspire future generations, and your memory will be cherished as that of a true hero.

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