Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:30 pm on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of Tobias Ellwood Tobias Ellwood Chair, Defence Committee, Chair, Defence Committee, Chair, Defence Sub-Committee, Chair, Defence Sub-Committee 12:30 pm, 19th March 2020

The Select Committee on Defence wants to meet on Tuesday, but it will not be doing so. We have the witnesses in place, but they cannot beam themselves in virtually. I hope that can be corrected so we can go to a digital environment.

May I invite Ministers to give us a statement on military assistance to civil authorities through the covid-19 support force? We have 20,000 armed forces personnel on standby for mobilisation to assist during this coronavirus outbreak. They will do a terrific job, but what will that job be? There is speculation that they might be involved in the shutdown of London, but we know that is incorrect. On top of that, they have a day job to do of watching our backs to keep our nation safe. With that in mind, and with the ever-increasing pressures that will be placed on those personnel as the coronavirus outbreak continues, will Ministers consider delaying the defence, foreign policy and security review until the new year?