Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:36 pm on 22nd April 2021.

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Photo of Kevan Jones Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham 12:36 pm, 22nd April 2021

May I begin by congratulating James Sunderland, who, although he said he is new, chaired this Committee excellently? Like him, I pay tribute to the staff who supported the Committee, and I also pay tribute to the witnesses who came before us. He said that this is a unique Committee. It meets every five years, and I think I have served on every one of these Bills for the past 20 years. This was a difficult one because of covid, but it also was not helped by the attitude of the Ministry of Defence on the statutory guidance. Likewise, and I will put this on the record, it was not helped by the attitude of the then Minister, Johnny Mercer. Does the hon. Member for Bracknell agree that what needs to change is that in future—the report mentions the length of time the Committee sits—a set period, for example, six months, should be provided for, in order to ensure that detailed scrutiny, which I do not think we did this time, can be guaranteed?