Veterans: Vexatious Claims

Defence – in the House of Commons on 21st September 2020.

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Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby

What steps his Department is taking to protect veterans from vexatious claims.

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

We rightly expect the highest standards of our service personnel, and we also owe them justice and fairness. We have introduced the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill to tackle vexatious claims and end the cycle of reinvestigations of our armed forces personnel and veterans. The Second Reading of the Bill will be on Wednesday, and I look forward to the House’s support.

Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby

Just as the Government launched their consultation on the Bill, my constituent who had served in the armed forces came to see me. He was concerned to ensure that no service personnel or veterans should be prosecuted for carrying out what they had been trained for. Can the Minister provide him with that reassurance?

Photo of Johnny Mercer Johnny Mercer Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (jointly with the Ministry of Defence)

I can categorically guarantee and assure all service personnel that, should they operate within the law, which is very clear and well understood, this Government will move beyond the warm words of so many before them and actually legislate to ensure that they are protected from the vexatious and industrial nature of the claims of the past few years. We are very clear, however, that uniform is no hiding place for those who cannot operate within the boundaries we ask them to operate in. The Bill is proportionate and fair in that respect.