Clause 8 — Desertion

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 22nd May 2006.

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Photo of Rob Flello Rob Flello Labour, Stoke-on-Trent South 5:00 pm, 22nd May 2006

As part of the armed forces parliamentary scheme, I recently had the opportunity to take part in a dawn attack exercise on Salisbury plain. We were in the back of a Saxon armoured personnel carrier at four o'clock in the morning—albeit on an exercise—and we were reliant on two guys, one on either side of the vehicle, each with a light anti-tank weapon. In a war environment, I would like to know that those guys were there with their light anti-tank weapons defending the vehicle, rather than thinking that they may decide, according to their consciences, at four o'clock in the morning, that it was all a bad idea. What is the hon. Gentleman's view on a squaddie—if I may use that word—lying there with a light anti-tank weapon, thinking to himself, "Two years isn't so bad. Let's slope off home and not lie here at four o'clock in the morning in the cold"?