Service will honour war dead but parade is ruled out

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Tony Blair has ruled out a Falklands-style military parade to celebrate the victory of British and American troops over Saddam Hussein, Downing Street said yesterday.

Tony Blair has ruled out a Falklands-style military parade to celebrate the victory of British and American troops over Saddam Hussein, Downing Street said yesterday.

But the Ministry of Defence is considering a thanksgiving service involving the Royal Family, Mr Blair, senior military officers and the families of personnel killed. Mr Blair's spokesman said there would be no full-scale military parade. Ministers were considering a special honours list for those who served.Any event is likely to be held in the autumn.

Downing Street played down suggestions that the event would be triumphalist. A spokesman said: "The Government is deciding how best to mark the extraordinary bravery, professionalism and sacrifice of our armed forces. The MoD will consult other parts of the Government and Buckingham Palace, but particular attention will be paid to the views of those parts of the services directly involved and of the families of those who died.

"What this is about is honouring those who took part, in particular those who fought and died. The best judge of how to do that is the military. Everyone clearly wants to ensure that the tone of any event is appropriate and respectful."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who opposed the conflict, was said not to favour a thanksgiving service. But Lambeth Palace said he supported members of the armed forces being honoured.

Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative defence spokesman, said: "I support a thanksgiving service, provided the tone is not triumphalist or inappropriate. We would certainly like a parade. But there is a question mark over the resources available. The armed forces are so overstretched they cannot now provide enough fire cover."

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