Veterans Care Sector: Government Role

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:01 pm on 25th October 2016.

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Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Chair, Defence Sub-Committee, Chair, Defence Sub-Committee 6:01 pm, 25th October 2016

I have persistently said that in the House. I use the Help for Heroes example because I want to pay tribute to Bryn and Emma, who have recently left it, as I believe that they changed the market when it comes to veterans care. Of course those in the charity sector have carried this burden for years and years, and people such as I and my hon. Friend will be enormously grateful to them for years to come.

In closing—I will close now, because I want to give the Minister more than the four minutes I left him to respond last time—this duty is not going to go away. I am afraid my voice will not grow weaker on this matter. I apologise to my many right hon. and hon. colleagues in this place for my persistence, which must appear tedious at times, but I ask them to bear with me, for they could not have had the experiences I have had—having seen and felt the sacrifice of our armed forces day after day, far from the public gaze—and give up this torch now.

I am privileged beyond anything I could have envisaged in those days when I fought alongside members of our armed forces, and I will use and abuse that privilege until the situation changes because they deserve it. Some lost everything as the Helmand sky faded from view and their name was added to the wall at the National Memorial Arboretum. Some lost body parts they would never recover. Too many lost their minds in a process that is ongoing today. They deserve a country and a Government that care. In a world that I sometimes find so incredibly selfish and cruel, they sacrificed themselves for the greater cause in the furtherance of this great nation of ours. I have not mentioned their families: the mother who wakes without her son, and the wife who wakes without her husband. I said this on my first day in the Chamber, and it will forever remain true:

“Theirs is the greatest sacrifice on the altar of this nation’s continuing freedom”.—[Official Report, 1 June 2015;
Vol. 596, c. 375.]

We must never tire in our duty to them.

Thank you for allowing this debate tonight, Madam Deputy Speaker. I hope I will not have to repeat the exercise too many more times.