BUSINESS QUESTION – SOUTHERN HEALTH NHS FOUNDATION TRUST & ASYLUM FOR AFGHAN INTERPRETERS – 8 September 2016
Dr Julian Lewis: May I strongly endorse what the hon. Member for Heywood and Middleton (Liz McInnes) and my right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest West (Sir Desmond Swayne) said about the extraordinary decision of Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust to create a post with a salary greater than that of the Prime Minister to accommodate someone whose position as chief executive had become untenable?
May I ask for a ministerial statement on the plight of Afghan and other former interpreters for British armed forces in hostile environments who have applied for but not yet been given asylum in this country? That is not only a debt of honour, but necessary for the future functioning of British troops in hostile environments where we are greatly dependent on indigenous interpreters.
[The Leader of the House of Commons (Mr David Lidington): My right hon. Friend raises an important point. Clearly it is a very important principle that all asylum decisions are taken on the merits of each particular case. That is true of applications from former interpreters as well as those from everybody else. It is also the case, however, that both the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office continue to review the overall situation in order to ensure that we are providing protection to people who have helped to protect us. My right hon. Friend will, I think, be pleased to know that there will be Defence questions next Monday 12 September, and he may wish to raise the issue with Defence Ministers then.]