Blair shuns George Cross furore

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Downing Street has said Tony Blair will not try to overturn the decision to deny a posthumous George Cross to a police officer killed by a terror suspect.

The George Cross Committee's decision to grant neither the cross nor the George Medal to Detective Constable Stephen Oake was greeted with indignation in Manchester, where he is credited with saving the lives of three colleagues three years ago by clinging to an Algerian terrorist, Kamel Bourgass, now serving life for his murder.

He was nominated by the Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Michael Todd. He could have been the first winner of the civilian equivalent of the Victoria Cross, awarded for "acts of the greatest heroism or the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger".

But the committee, chaired by Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell, ruled that the officer's actions, spontaneous rather than calculated, did not meet the "extremely high" standards required.

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