A NUCLEAR test veteran is hoping to get backing from South Shields MP David Miliband for his long-running fight for justice.
John Taylor is pressing for compensation for and official recognition of the plight of ex-servicemen, like him, exposed to radiation during British nuclear weapon tests in the Pacific in the 1950s.
Although 1,000 nuclear veterans saw their case thrown out by the Supreme Court in London last year, Mr Taylor still harbours hopes of success at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France.
Mr Taylor, 75, of Carnegie Close, South Shields, plans to arrange a meeting soon with former Cabinet minister Mr Miliband and a London-based legal representative for the veterans.
He said: “The plan is to meet with Mr Miliband and a solicitor from the legal firm Rosenblatt, which is representing the veterans, to travel up from London.
“The aim is to have someone like Mr Miliband speaking up for the veterans in Parliament, because what he says will carry more weight with politicians.
“I would hope we can arrange a meeting within the next few weeks.”
An earlier planned meeting with Mr Miliband was postponed because Mr Taylor had to attend hospital for a test for a long-running stomach complaint.
Mr Taylor, like many atom bomb test veterans, believes he and his family have been left with medical problems as a result of radiation exposure over 50 years ago.
In 1957, Mr Taylor was a leading aircraftman, serving with the RAF in Maralinga, Australia, when he witnessed a nuclear test.
Wearing little protection, Mr Taylor saw the mushroom-shaped blast of a nuclear explosion on the horizon.
But despite a long campaign, nuclear test veterans have still not won compensation or received official recognition that they might have suffered as a result of the atom bomb tests they saw.
Last November, former Labour leader Lord Kinnock asked in the House of Lords if compensation could be paid to the nuclear test veterans.
However, he was told the Supreme Court had decided the veterans would experience “great difficulty proving a causal link between illnesses suffered and attendance at the tests”.
Lord Kinnock was also told that the Ministry of Defence does not intend to pay what is called common law compensation following the Supreme Court ruling.