Theresa May vows to wear Khadi poppy to remember ‘crucial role’ of Indian troops

The Prime Minister has pledged to wear a Khadi poppy to remember the “crucial role” of India’s soldiers during the First World War.

Theresa May paid tribute to the “vital contribution” made by those serving around the Commonwealth before next month’s ceremony at the Cenotaph marking a century since Armistice Day.

Her comments came as Tory chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Tom Tugendhat asked the Prime Minister to join him in wearing a Khadi poppy.

He said: “Will she join me when she goes to the Cenotaph next Sunday in paying tribute not only to our own war dead from this country but to those three million who came from the Commonwealth to serve in the cause of freedom?

“I will sadly not be in Tonbridge this weekend, I will be laying a wreath in Delhi paying my own tribute and I know on behalf of this whole House paying tribute to those who suffered and died.

“Will she join me also in wearing a Khadi poppy at some point?

“The reason for which is the homespun cotton that remembers Gandhi’s and India’s contribution to the effort, (which) is a vital reminder to all of us here of our links around the world but particularly to India.”

Mrs May replied: “Can I thank him for highlighting this vital contribution that was made by soldiers from around the Commonwealth, and he has highlighted particularly those from India, and I also pay tribute to him for his own military service.

“We must never forget that over 74,000 soldiers came from undivided India and lost their lives, 11 of them won the Victoria Cross for their outstanding bravery and he will know they played a crucial role in the war across multiple continents.

“I’d like to also congratulate the Royal British Legion and Lord Gadhia for their efforts in recognising this contribution with the special Khadi poppy honouring the sacrifice of everyone who served a century ago, and I will certainly be interested in wearing a Khadi poppy at some stage over the period as we lead up to Armistice Day.”

Mrs May also said she was pleased to be wearing a ceramic poppy today, created by children at a school in the north-west.

She added: “It is very important at this centenary that we all recognise and that younger generations understand the immense sacrifice that was made for their freedom.”