Tory MP wants Theresa May to revoke Malta’s George Cross over Brexit offence

Alistair Dodding files motion to revoke Malta’s George Cross over ‘role of Joseph Muscat in Brexit negotiations’

The Maltese government has presented a diplomatic protest with the United Kingdom, over a Conservative MP’s motion to repeal the George Cross medal from the Maltese flag.

The Maltese High Commissioner informed Prime Minister Theresa May that the Maltese government had taken exception to Alistair Dodding’s parliamentary motion – one of several presented during the recent Brexit sittings – to repeal the George Cross medal, granted to Malta by King George VI in 1942.

In the note presented to London, the Maltese government insists that the Tory MP’s motion was an affront to Maltese sovereignty.

“The letter states that the Maltese were awarded the George Cross for their bravery during World War II and that the emblem is now synonymous with Maltese identity and nationhood,” a diplomatic source said.

“They specifically asked the UK prime minister to use her influence as party leader to remove any such amendment, because retaining it would be a cause for insult.”

However, Dodding – a Brexiteer MP from the Welsh border town of Fwlleugh – is insisting that the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 includes the revocation of British decorations to EU member states, in this case Malta, as well as other decorations for EU officials.

“I have written to the Honours Forfeiture Committee, which is convened under the United Kingdom Cabinet Office, telling the Prime Minister that the role of Joseph Muscat in our Brexit negotiations with the European Commission raises the question of whether Malta should be allowed to continue to be a holder of the George Cross,” Dodding said in a statement from his office to MaltaToday.

The Office of the Prime Minister did not answer to questions sent by MaltaToday.

The George Cross is the premier award given for non-operational gallantry or gallantry not in the presence of an enemy. This is awarded for acts of the greatest heroism or of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger.

The George Cross was awarded to the island of Malta by King George VI in a letter to the island's Governor, Lieutenant-General Sir William Dobbie, so as to "bear witness to the heroism and devotion of its people" during the great siege they underwent in the early part of World War II. Italy and Germany besieged Malta, then a British colony, from 1940 to 1942. The George Cross was incorporated into the Flag of Malta beginning in 1943 and remains on the current design of the flag.