Labour back calls for Commons silence for Munich anniversary

By Jennifer Lipman, June 15, 2012

Opposition MPs are calling on the government to agree to a parliamentary commemoration the Munich Olympic massacre when the games come to London this summer.

Tessa Jowell, S hadow Olympics Minister, is urging the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to agree to hold a minute's silence in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes, coaches and referees killed by terrorists from the PLO faction Black September at the September 1972 Games.

She has written to the Speaker of the House asking for this to happen "to mark this tragic event".

In response to a question on the subject from Ms Jowell in parliament, Hugh Robertson, the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in charge of the Olympics, said she was right to draw attention to what happened in Munich 40 years ago.

Noting that the Culture Secretary planned to attend a Munich memorial at Guildhall during the London Olympics, he did not confirm whether a silence would be held in the House of Commons.

"I visited the Israeli Olympic Committee some years ago when I was in Opposition and am well aware of the importance of this matter to the state of Israel and to the Olympic movement," he said. "I will do everything that I can to ensure that it is marked in an appropriate fashion."

Calls for a silence at the opening ceremony of the Olympics have gained international support, most recently from legislators in the Canadian parliament who voted unanimously for a silence, but the IOC has blocked the request.

Last updated: 3:40pm, June 15 2012