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Last Updated: Monday, 5 May, 2003, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Veterans welcome illness ruling
Major Christine Lloyd
Major Christine Lloyd is trying to secure a disability pension

Military veterans in the South West have broadly welcomed an announcement linking so-called Gulf War Syndrome with medication military personnel were told to take.

It follows a tribunal ruling in the case of Strathclyde serviceman Alex Izett who became ill after receiving a cocktail of vaccinations without actually serving in the Gulf.

Now veterans say they are feeling more optimistic about claims for compensation and disability pensions.

A Cornwall MP has said he hopes that this will stop the Ministry of Defence from acting in what he described as a state of "deplorable denial".

I think it would be outrageous if the government now plays legal battles
Paul Tyler MP

A war pensions appeal tribunal ruled Alex Izett's brittle bone disease could be linked to a cocktail of injections he had before the Gulf War.

Mr Izett - who served with the Royal Engineers - was never actually sent to the conflict but developed unexpected illness in the same way as many veterans.

For people like nursing officer Major Christine Lloyd, who lives in Cornwall, the news brings fresh hope.

She returned from the Gulf in 1991 with a mystery illness which cost her job, her home and, ultimately, her health.

She has always believed her illness was caused by the vaccinations she took before her tour of duty began.

She said of the tribunal verdict: "I'm absolutely delighted.

Christine Lloyd's vaccination list
Christine Lloyd received many vaccinations before her deployment

"One of the main reasons is because we have always said that troops who were not deployed to the Gulf who had the vaccines and who took the tablets were and are ill in similar ways to us."

But whether all those affected will benefit from the tribunal ruling remains to be seen.

Liberal Democrat MP for North Cornwall Paul Tyler said: "I think it would be outrageous if the government now plays legal battles with each individual veteran.

"I hope they'll accept that this is a test case and this will mean justice for all veterans."

Mr Tyler, a member of the Royal British Legion Gulf War Group, added: "The Ministry of Defence has been in a state of deplorable denial. While US service personnel were properly treated, ours were accused of imagining their serious illnesses."

Defence minister Dr Lewis Moonie said he did not accept that vaccinations caused the illnesses.

He said: "The tribunal ruling accepted that we could not prove that the ill health was not due to the concoctions.

However, Christine Lloyd is hoping the ruling will help her secure a disability pension worth 16,000 a year. But the government's position on compensation is still unclear.




WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's June Kelly
"The MOD doesn't believe that Gulf War Syndrome exists"



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