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Issue of sum out of the Consolidated Fund for the year ending 31 March 2019 and appropriation of that sum

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 9:45 pm on 9th July 2018.

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Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning Conservative, Hemel Hempstead 9:45 pm, 9th July 2018

My right hon. and gallant Friend understands this so well. It was not so much that the RUC could not cope, but the threat to them was so great that we had to patrol with them. I did not serve in Londonderry or Belfast, even though I have been accused of doing naughty things in Belfast by the IRA and Sinn Féin. I served in Monaghan, Keady and Middletown, where we were in the RUC post, sometimes with the RUC and sometimes on our own.

It was a very difficult time, but we were not conscripts. We were young people who volunteered to serve in our armed forces. When I joined up, I knew that I was going to Northern Ireland. Basically, every 18 months you would go to Northern Ireland if you were from an infantry regiment. We knew we were going to go, and we knew how difficult it was going to be, but—this is the big but—I expected those who sent us to look after us. I honestly feel at the moment that veterans, and not just those from my day, do not feel that this House did the right thing for us, and they passionately feel that we are letting them down.

If this evening’s debate is not the answer and these amendments are not the right ones, I say to colleagues around the Chamber—I am so disappointed that some of my Labour friends who served in the armed forces are not here for something so damn important—that the people who did the right thing for us and for Northern Ireland are flagrantly being let down, day in and day out. They are told there is another consultation, that we cannot do it—that there is technicality here, and the judges will not do it—or that Sinn Féin will use this against us. I don’t give a monkey’s. The Commons should stand up for our veterans, and if we do not vote for that this evening, there is something seriously wrong.