CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DEFENCE – ARMED FORCES BILL – 9 January 2001

Dr Julian Lewis: Does my hon. Friend [Gerald Howarth] agree that is it very sad that a convention that originated in the aftermath of the bestial war crimes of the second world war to try to prevent a repetition of those atrocities should now be so twisted and perverted as to be imposed on democratic countries and, indeed, on the armed forces of those countries, without which the second world war would never have been won?

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Dr Lewis: My hon. Friend [Crispin Blunt] has so far spoken about the effects, anticipated and otherwise, of the European convention on human rights on the armed forces in peacetime. What does he think the convention's effects will be in conditions of war? In those conditions, serving members of the armed forces who think that their inalienable human rights have been wronged will have no practical capability to go running to court, because the country will supposedly be fighting for its survival.

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Dr Lewis: I do not necessarily oppose what the hon. Lady [Dari Taylor] says, but would she care to acknowledge that, in testimony to the Defence Committee, the Equal Opportunities Commission readily accepted that, when women apply for posts in the armed services, they must meet objective standards of performance, and that standards must not be lowered in order to enable them to take up posts? On that basis, there can be some sort of convergence across the Chamber on the issue.