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Minister promises continuing military support for Corrie search

Mike Penning on a visit to RAF Marham''''MoD Photo
Mike Penning on a visit to RAF Marham''''MoD Photo

The armed forces minister yesterday promised the House of Commons military support would continue for the search for missing Airman Corrie McKeague.

Mike Penning, who visited Corrie’s base RAF Honington with Bury MP Jo Churchill shortly after Corrie went missing on September 24, was responding to a question in the House from Labour MP for Barnsley Central Dan Jarvis.

Corrie McKeague with his pug-cross puppy Louell who was left in his room at RAF Honington when he went missing ANL-160710-181117001
Corrie McKeague with his pug-cross puppy Louell who was left in his room at RAF Honington when he went missing ANL-160710-181117001

Mr Jarvis praised Mrs Churchill’s efforts in keeping MPs informed and asked: “Will the Minister place on the record the Government’s concern about Corrie’s whereabouts?

“Will he also give an assurance that all work is being done and all resources are being put towards the search to bring him home?”

Mr Penning said: “Naturally, there is an ongoing police inquiry, but I am sure that members across the whole House will want to register that their thoughts are with Corrie’s family, loved ones and his service colleagues from the RAF regiment who I had the honour of meeting at RAF Honington just after he went missing.

“On a daily basis, I have ensured that all available military kit, personnel and surveillance equipment are available should the police request them, and they have requested them on several occasions.

“I thank the hon Gentleman for paying tribute to my parliamentary private secretary [Mrs Churchill], who has done diligent work in Bury St Edmunds to ensure that the local community knows what is going on. We all want Corrie to come home safely, and the MOD will do all we possibly can.”

Last Thursday Mrs Churchill wrote to all MPs outlining the history of the case. She says if the cost of the investigation rises above £1 million, an application will be made to central government for funding.

She addded: “With this investigation ongoing, every effort is currently being made to not only find Corrie but to understand the circumstances of his disappearance.

“I have been and remain in regular contact with both RAF Honington, Suffolk Police Constabulary and lead authorities, all who are investigating this ongoing case and have agreed to the distribution of this letter.

“On a more personal note, I wish to reiterate my own concern for the whereabouts of Corrie McKeague. My heartfelt thoughts and prayers, which I have conveyed in person to Nicola Urqhart [Corrie’s mum], remain with all of Corrie’s family and friends during this most difficult time.”

In response to the letter, Nicola posted on the Find Corrie Facebook Group: “Thank you Jo, I am so aware of how much you have tried to and continue to help us.

“I knew you meant what you said when I met you. Your constituents should be very proud of the work you do for them. This has nothing to do with party allegiance but complete human kindness and decency.”

Anyone with information on Corrie should call the Suffolk Police incident room on 01473 782019 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

For the latest update on the search click here

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