What assurance can the Secretary of State give the House and members of the armed forces, such as my constituent, 19-year-old Private James Kenny of C company, 3rd Battalion the Parachute Regiment, who has recently returned from active service in Afghanistan, that an independent panel will be set up to report on the Government’s performance in relation to the military covenant?
I have said repeatedly in the House, in answer to similar questions, that I want the widest possible consultation and the widest possible transparency. If the hon. Lady will permit me, I will set out the details shortly.
I think that the whole House, in fact the whole country, will want today to rally behind the Government’s proposals, which I believe represent a wide consensus across those with different political views and those with none.
I have not had the misfortune of getting into a lift with the Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Mr Robathan, but I have spent many hours debating the military covenant with him. I was therefore very surprised to learn at the weekend that he has performed not only a U-turn on the matter, but a double U-turn. He had said previously that he did not believe that a veterans ID card was necessary. What does the Secretary of State think?
I am not sure what a double U-turn looks like. Again, I will be outlining the proposals, which will be available in the documents that will be published and available to the House, very shortly.