Former Tory MP backs friend convicted of stealing war veteran funds

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Former Tory minister Edwina Currie is still backing a friend who was convicted of stealing over £3,000 raised for war veterans.

Jeffrey Lawton, who once served as chair of the High Peak Conservative Association, was convicted of stealing £3,135 (US$3,800) by a Derbyshire court in October.

The money had been meant for the Poppy Appeal, but was never handed over. Currie has now said that she believes Lawton is innocent of wrongdoing, but guilty of being disorganized for failing to present the cash.

Lawton avoided a prison sentence but was given a community order and curfew, and was forced to pay costs. He also stepped down as local party chairman.

Currie sent a letter to the court hoping for mitigation on Lawton’s behalf, as did her husband, John Jones.

Jones, a former police detective, told the Mirror newspaper: “We are both horrified because we actually don’t think he is guilty.

“We have known Jeff for quite a few years and we are quite fond of him. He hasn’t got a bad bone in his body.

"He’s the most disorganised person you could wish to meet. He’s very careless but a lovely guy,” Jones said, adding that Lawton had been “lucky” not to go to jail.

Rethink remembrance?

With Remembrance Sunday approaching, the Royal British Legion (RBL) – which brands itself as the custodian of the event – has embarked upon a new campaign to ‘Rethink Remembrance’ by including young veterans of recent wars.

Speaking to the BBC Thursday, Claire Rowcliffe, director of fundraising at the RBL said: "When you pin on your poppy, or pause to remember, we're inviting you to rethink Remembrance and who it is you picture when you think of a veteran.