Veterans Care Sector: Government Role

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:27 pm on 25th October 2016.

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Photo of Mark Lancaster Mark Lancaster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence 6:27 pm, 25th October 2016

Let me say two things to my hon. Friend. First, I do not think that it is just Conservatives who care passionately about this issue; I am confident that Members on both sides of the House care passionately about it, and I have been greatly encouraged by the positive co-operation and constructive support for progress that I have observed on the part of Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition. I hope that that continues, and I am sure that it will. Secondly, I do not have a closed mind about anything. I would like to think that during my tenure as veterans Minister to date—given that I have just praised Her Majesty’s loyal Opposition, it may well come to an end quite shortly—I have demonstrably tried to take a fresh approach to a number of issues, including mesothelioma. I have looked at issues again, and I am currently looking at a couple of issues that are in my inbox.

I do not have a closed mind. All I am saying is that at the moment, on balance, I do not believe that my hon. Friend’s suggestion constitutes the right approach. We have heard this evening about how other areas of government can contribute effectively to the care of our veterans. I also feel—this point was made by my hon. Friend the Member for North Wiltshire—that we should not allow the other areas of government, and society, to feel that responsibility for our veterans has somehow been delegated to a small part of government. I believe—at the moment, on balance—that that would be a mistake.

Question put and agreed to.

House adjourned.