Ministry of Defence

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:43 pm on 26th February 2018.

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Photo of Leo Docherty Leo Docherty Conservative, Aldershot 6:43 pm, 26th February 2018

My hon. Friend asks a pertinent question. It utterly diminishes the faith that our servicemen and women have in the Government’s commitment to minding soldiers’ backs. Soldiers deploy with the good faith that, no matter what, as long as they act honourably, the Government will back them up. Of course, soldiers expect to be held to the highest standard with regard to the law. That is the case with Major Robert Campbell and others. He has endured an inquiry into this historical allegation seven times over, and each time he has been exonerated. By great coincidence, just a few weeks ago he was awarded the Long Service and Good Conduct medal, and then he got a call to say—can you believe it?—that an eighth inquiry was under way. This situation must end.

I call on the Minister to tell the House in his concluding remarks how much the MOD spends on the Iraq Fatality Investigations unit; how many servicemen and women are undergoing investigation at this time; how many have been previously cleared of allegations against them; and what immediate steps the Department will take to bring about the end of the use of MOD money to pursue soldiers and veterans in this way.

The military thrives because there is an absolute bond of trust between those who serve and those who govern. If that is in any way undermined, it would be a huge dereliction of the Government’s duty to maintain that essential bond. I hope that the Government will act decisively, in the best interests of our soldiers, veterans, military community and our country as a whole.