New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: Like you, Mr Speaker, I am about to attend the memorial service for that great parliamentarian Tam Dalyell, which happens to coincide with the upcoming statement on Northern Ireland. If that statement does not include a definite announcement on when the Government will introduce legislation along the lines of the ten-minute rule Bill introduced yesterday by my right hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Newbury (Richard Benyon) to protect service personnel who served during the troubles from legal persecution, may we have a statement at the ​earliest opportunity announcing exactly what the Government intend to do about this appalling persecution of our veterans?

[Mr Speaker: Tam Dalyell was certainly a great man, as the right hon. Gentleman has said. He was a quite outstanding parliamentarian, and he was intelligent, doughty, indefatigable and utterly fearless. A lot of Members could learn from him.

The Leader of the House of Commons (Andrea Leadsom): Mr Speaker, I absolutely share your regard – and that of my right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest East (Dr Lewis) – for Tam Dalyell. I think my right hon. Friend was referring to the statement that is to follow business questions, which will relate to Northern Ireland processes and procedures. It therefore might not cover the issue that he has mentioned. However, I want to set out clearly the high regard of the Government – and, indeed, the whole House – for the amazing work done by our armed forces in ensuring peace in Northern Ireland. We remain absolutely committed to that continuing. I am sure that my right hon. Friend will find ways to raise this issue directly, if not through the statement.]