New Forest East

DEFENCE – LAWFARE – 29 February 2016

Dr Julian Lewis: The Minister and, indeed, the Secretary of State have been very vocal about the importance of introducing a Bill to protect service personnel from spurious, costly and stressful legal actions. However, there have been apparently well-informed reports that the Bill is ready to proceed, but is being held up in Downing Street for fear that it might somehow impinge on the forthcoming European Union referendum debates. Can the Minister confirm that her Department will do as much as possible to ensure that the Bill is introduced at the earliest opportunity, and is not delayed for any spurious external political reasons?

[The Minister for the Armed Forces (Penny Mordaunt): I can give my right hon. Friend those reassurances. I think that, in all respects, the information on which he based his question is not correct. A number of measures will be introduced, some of which may be attached to pieces of legislation, and we hope to be able to make announcements before local government purdah kicks in.]