24 JUN 2010

The fight to free Bill Shaw reaches Downing Street

I have continued to fight to free Bill Shaw, with his wife Liz and daughter Lisa, from Kabul's notorious Pul-e-Charkhi prison in Afghanistan, where Bill has been jailed since March. I called on our Government to secure Bill's release during my Maiden Speech in the Commons and have subsequently met with officials and Ministers to press the Foreign Office to bring Bill back to his family and our country. Today we presented a petition to the Prime Minister in Downing Street, which was an awesome experience. I was deeply moved that four thousand people had signed the petition calling for Bill's release. Perhaps as movingly, Bill's two grandchildren, Caius and Madeleine, aged five and eight respectively, had added their own letters, personally addressed to David Cameron, asking the Prime Minister to bring their Grandad home. I was informed by Caius that his Grandad had missed his fifth birthday and that he hadn't had much fun at the party.

Bill served in the British Army for 28 years and was awarded the MBE for his service, he was also an instructor to the next generation of army officers at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst. He is now being held in "positively medieval" conditions alongside inmates from the Taliban and al-Qaeda, I very much hope that our petition presented today will convince our Government to strain every sinew to make sure Bill doesn't miss Caius' sixth birthday next May.

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Charlie Elphicke

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