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Armed Forces Covenant

Part of Bombardier – in the House of Commons at 12:13 pm on 22nd November 2018.

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Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence 12:13 pm, 22nd November 2018

The hon. Gentleman raises an important issue. I was in Northern Ireland for Remembrance Sunday and it was a pleasure to be back. He knows that I served there a number of years ago, and it was a pleasure to see how far advanced the whole of Northern Ireland is in embracing the ability publicly to thank the armed forces. I was in Coleraine for Armed Forces Day, but at the time that I served we would never have seen our armed forces marching down the streets with people thanking them for their service. There are, however, some particular challenges in Northern Ireland, of which the hon. Gentleman is more aware than me. He is also aware of the situation with the Northern Ireland Assembly and the development of the new districts that are coming in. It is a bottom-up approach. We are trying to make this work. There is the veterans’ support office, which he is familiar with. I have met people from that office, too. Anyone who feels that they are not receiving support needs to get directly in touch with that office because that is the avenue through which to find help. Help is there, but as with many situations, this is about knowing where to go when such help is required.

The other major change is the mental health strategy, and the significance of that issue has already been touched on a number of times. This is about what we put our brave personnel through, and whether there is a requirement for them to have additional support in that area. In my time—I am looking around the Chamber and there are many old warriors here—