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Monday28 July 2014

Theresa May steps in over War Graves Commission HQ allegations

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Home secretary Theresa May has written to the director general of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission over allegations that she was misled about the original significance of its headquarters.

Campaigners fighting to save the 1974 Fitzroy Robinson building in Maidenhead contacted May who is the local MP.

They claimed the RIBA award-winning building had been wrongly portrayed to May and the commissioners as being past its useful life.

She has asked director general Richard Kellaway to respond to the allegations.

Peter Bell of the Campaign to Save the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Building said: “The commission is a charity founded by Royal Charter that is charged with a task of the deepest importance and meaning for the nation and the Commonwealth in its care for the graves and the records of our war dead.

“I believe its present director general and principal officers have lost touch with the meaning and symbolism of its own headquarters and that this situation should be brought to the attention of the public.”

A spokesman for the commission said May would receive a reply imminently.

He added: “The commission strongly refutes Mr Bell’s suggestion that our present headquarters… has ever been, or was intended to be, a memorial of any kind.

“Rather it is the base from which that vital work of caring for the graves of our fallen is carried out and a base which is not ideally suited to that task.

“Mr Bell’s accusation that our director general has misled the public is, quite frankly, unacceptable.”

He said the decision to seek an alternative location had been taken after careful consideration and consultation.

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