Part of Points of Order – in the House of Commons at 6:20 pm on 18th February 2019.

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Photo of James Cleverly James Cleverly Deputy Chair, Conservative Party 6:20 pm, 18th February 2019

The Minister made the point that this renewal—this continuation statutory instrument—is not normally discussed on the Floor of the House, but being able to do so is a great opportunity. The SI goes to the heart of the existence of our armed forces, because the British armed forces quite simply cease to exist without it. The Bill of Rights 1689 contains an assertion that the Army, and by extension the RAF and Navy, cannot exist without the explicit consent of Parliament. Provisions within this SI also enable the chain of command to deliver good governance within the armed forces themselves.

I do not intend to rehearse the arguments that may come about during the proceedings on the Armed Forces Representative Body Bill. It is an interesting idea that has been taken up by other armed forces around the world, but I think that the responsibility and the nature of the relationship between the chain of command in the British armed forces and the soldiers, sailors and airmen and women that they command is dependent on a fundamentally different relationship, which I think a representative body would be in danger of undermining.