Clause 8 does not represent an improvement on the French system. It will mean that officers serving on the front line who can see at first hand what is happening—unlike us, who simply have to read the reports that are presented to us here—could face substantial charges. It is incumbent on the House to say that such charges are inappropriate to the world in which modern warfare is being conducted, and to the expectations and rights of those young men and women who have volunteered to put their lives on the line in the service of this country.
Let us take a step back from the debate for a moment. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been a huge fuss about the Home Office releasing people who have a track record of murder or rape. People who have committed criminal offences such as those can get early release from prison. To enshrine in the Bill the prospect of life imprisonment for a refusal to kill seems to make a nonsense of the ethical responsibilities that Britain should be carrying in the modern world.