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 James Sunderland James Sunderland Chair, Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill, Chair, Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill 12:36 pm, 22nd April 2021

I thank my good friend from Portsmouth South for his question and for the very positive way in which he and his party—and, indeed, the SNP—engaged throughout the process. He raises a valid point. The implementation of the covenant in law is restricted at this point in time to the three areas that I mentioned earlier: health, education and accommodation. The report lists those areas in which we feel that more work is needed.

My sense is that the Ministry of Defence, over the next year or so and beyond, will be required to report on the effectiveness of implementation in those three areas. It will also be under increasing pressure to broaden the scope of the covenant in due course. Indeed, why should not social care and other aspects of public service provision be included? As a humble Back Bencher, I am sympathetic to the arguments that have been put forward, and I am sure the future rests with the Ministry of Defence as it take them forward.