Armed Forces Covenant

Part of Bombardier – in the House of Commons at 1:21 pm on 22nd November 2018.

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Photo of Julian Lewis Julian Lewis Chair, Defence Committee 1:21 pm, 22nd November 2018

Heaven forbid.

Other matters deserved equal attention today. We have heard about the legal hounding of Northern Ireland veterans and other veterans of different campaigns; that is an ongoing matter. Also, at some point it would be right for the House to consider the Home Office’s failure to allocate sufficient British passports to veterans of the Hong Kong Military Service Corps and the Royal Navy. That injustice needs to be rectified. However, as I said, in the time available to me today I will concentrate on war widows, and I will do so slightly unusually—in their own words.

First, I remind the House of the terms of the covenant itself, which the Minister read out. The words relevant to my remarks are the following:

“the whole nation has a moral obligation to the members of the Naval Service, the Army and the Royal Air Force, together with their families…
Special consideration is appropriate in some cases, especially for those who have given most, such as the injured and the bereaved.”

Back in May, I had the pleasure of meeting Judith Thompson, the Commissioner for Victims and Survivors. We discussed the plight of 200 to 300 war widows who lost their war widow’s pension and did not have it reinstated when others were more fortunate.

I see the hon. Member for Bridgend has just taken her place. Sadly, she missed the tribute paid to her achievement in becoming president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, but she is here to hear me reiterate it. I hope she will contribute to the debate.