Pressure on Royal Mail for war dead stamps

Britain's official war artist for Iraq has asked Gordon Brown to intervene to help him complete his plan for the Royal Mail to issue postage stamps carrying portraits of British soldiers killed in the conflict.

Steve McQueen, the Turner Prize-winning video artist who was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum to cover the Iraq war, said that Royal Mail rebuffed the project even though most of the families who have lost sons in Iraq support it.

Talking about his new art exhibition "Queen & Country", McQueen said: "This is totally non-political. It is about people who did their job and they died unfortunately. The stamps are a very public way of commemorating the lives of people who served their country."

Royal Mail, he said, told him it could not consider the idea until 2009 at the earliest. But he pointed out that Royal Mail was able to react within weeks by issuing stamps to celebrate England's Ashes win at cricket and to commemorate Diana, Princess of Wales, after her death.

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