Sir Julian Lewis: I commend to the Defence team and, indeed, the House the new book by Larisa Brown, The Gardener of Lashkar Gah, which outlines in great detail the sort of debt we owe to the people who tried to help our forces. My specific question is not about people serving with the Afghan forces; it is about whether we have a proper database of all those who served with the British forces and are eligible under the scheme, and whether the Minister can guarantee that the scheme will not be closed while some of those people – probably a large number of them – are still in hiding in Afghanistan and thus unable to apply for it.
[The Minister for Armed Forces (James Heappey): It will not surprise my right hon. Friend to know that the people who worked for the British armed forces over our extended period in Afghanistan appeared on many different lists, and part of the job of work over the past 18 months or so has been to consolidate those into an authoritative list of those whom we know to have worked for us. However, we do have very good records, as one would expect the military to have kept. That allows us to focus our search on people whom we know to be eligible within the pile of applications, and of late, to make rapid progress in informing those who are ineligible. We will, of course, keep the scheme open for as long as it takes to find all of those whom we know worked for us.]