New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: On behalf of the Defence Committee, may I welcome the Secretary of State [Penny Mordaunt] to her new position, for which she is well qualified indeed? May I also pay tribute to her predecessor [Gavin Williamson], who not only saved our amphibious forces from premature dissolution, but won considerable battles with one of our real adversaries in Defence the Treasury?

Does the Minister, as a veteran himself, agree that part of the Veterans Strategy ought to be the protection of former Service personnel against repeated re-investigation for their activities in past conflicts? I welcome the fact that the Government seem to be moving towards some sort of Qualified Statute of Limitations approach, but may I urge them to bring their announcement to the Floor of the House, rather than simply putting it out as a Written Statement, as at the moment they are suggesting they intend to do?

[The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Tobias Ellwood): I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for his comments. I am afraid that I cannot provide a full answer because, as he suggests, the Secretary of State will be providing more information on this tomorrow.

Mr Speaker: Yes, but I think that I can say with confidence from the Chair that a Written Statement will simply not meet the needs of the case, given the appetite – I am grateful for the nod of affirmation from the right hon. Member for Sevenoaks (Sir Michael Fallon), the former Secretary of State for Defence. The House will clearly wish to question Ministers on the matter, and therefore it needs to be done in the Chamber.]

 [For Julian's speech on this subject click here.]