Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Friday, 21 August 2009 15:53 UK

Brown meets anti-war campaigner

Rose Gentle speaking at the conference
Mrs Gentle said families were worried about soldiers' equipment

A mother who has campaigned against the war in Iraq since her soldier son was killed has met Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Rose Gentle, from Glasgow, an outspoken critic of the government's handling of the war, had private talks with Mr Brown at an undisclosed location.

Mrs Gentle said she had a general conversation with the prime minister for about an hour.

She felt Mr Brown had listened to the points she had made.

Mrs Gentle asked Mr Brown for help to enable some Scottish families to visit the Armed Forces Memorial in Staffordshire.

She also asked for a memorial to be set up in Glasgow, and talked about a group called "the Siblings", which was set up by her daughter to help the sons, daughters, brothers and sisters of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Mrs Gentle's son Gordon, of the 1st Battalion Royal Highland Fusiliers, was 19 when he was killed in the southern Iraqi city of Basra in June 2004.

My feelings about going into Iraq and how my son was killed have not changed
Rose Gentle

Speaking after the meeting with Mr Brown, she said: "We did tell him we need a lot more equipment sent out to our boys.

"He said they were putting a lot of money towards equipment and when helicopters broke down they've got to come back to Britain to be fixed.

"We asked if he would fund a group where brothers and sisters of those killed in the armed forces could meet. He said it was a good idea that the brothers and sisters are meeting and he will get back to us regarding any funding."

Mrs Gentle, who also took her mother Pauline Graham to the meeting, said previous Prime Minister Tony Blair had always refused to meet her.

'Quite pleasant'

She added: "My anger is still with Tony Blair. Tony Blair refused to have a meeting with me when he was prime minister.

"My feelings about going into Iraq and how my son was killed have not changed.

"I know he (Mr Brown) was partly responsible for them going there as he held the purse strings, but I thought there was no point in raising voices during the meeting as I wouldn't be able to get answers to the questions."

Mrs Gentle said "no timescale" was given on when she may get answers to her requests in the meeting.

Asked about her impression of Mr Brown, Mrs Gentle said: "He was actually quite pleasant to speak to."

A Downing Street spokesman confirmed the meeting took place.

He also confirmed that Mr Brown was due to General David Petraeus, the head of US Central Command, in his constituency of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath.

They were to discuss the ongoing operation in Afghanistan and the fallout from Thursday's elections.

Mrs Gentle is the founder of the Military Families Against The War group.



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