Clause 8 — Desertion

Part of Orders of the Day – in the House of Commons at 5:15 pm on 22nd May 2006.

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Photo of Alan Simpson Alan Simpson Labour, Nottingham South 5:15 pm, 22nd May 2006

I accept that, but I am saying that the argument about a war being legal just because we say it is legal is a dangerous path for this Committee to be led down, and it is not relevant to amendment No. 9. What is relevant is to question the legitimacy of the House setting a parameter of life imprisonment to the penalties for a refusal to obey an order in relation to desertion, when the guidance notes say:

"the maximum is life imprisonment if the offender deserts when on service, or under orders to go on service".

The question is whether it should be appropriate in this day and age, in this Bill, which the House is passing now for the foreseeable future, to retain a life imprisonment parameter for a refusal to go on service.