DEFENCE (FRONT BENCH) – PROMOTION TO CDS – 21 July 2008

Dr Julian Lewis: The Minister's hon. and indeed gallant Friend the Member for Chorley (Lindsay Hoyle) is undoubtedly right that overstretch is primarily the greatest problem. What effect does the Minister think it has on the recruitment, retention and particularly morale of soldiers, sailors and airmen to know that, if the head of their service speaks out in favour of better conditions for them, he can forget about ever becoming Chief of the Defence Staff?

[The Minister for the Armed Forces (Mr Bob Ainsworth): If the hon. Gentleman were speaking the truth, that would be a very serious matter indeed. I see no facts to support the allegations made by the hon. Gentleman. The Chief of the Defence Staff remains in post and will remain in post. He is doing a very good job and steering us through the difficult times that confront our armed forces at present.]