British Special Forces in Afghanistan: New Allegations

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:35 am on 14th July 2022.

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Photo of James Heappey James Heappey The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence 10:35 am, 14th July 2022

The right hon. Gentleman is absolutely right: this will not be buried. Absolutely nobody in the Ministry of Defence wants to see these sorts of allegations buried. That does no service to our armed forces whatsoever. These allegations will be investigated fully, if the new evidence is handed over.

The investigation by the RMP itself has already been double-checked, as it were, by a recently retired chief constable and a senior QC, and they agreed that the investigation was sound. Further to that, there has been the Henriques review, published in October 2021, which recognised only too well that there were problems—failings, if you like—in the military justice system that needed to be resolved, so ahead of this there has already been a recognition that the military justice system could work better. The Henriques review identifies many of the ways that it could.

The Secretary of State was clear when I spoke to him earlier in the week on this matter that he is not ruling out any type of public inquiry or review if it is clear that there are failings that need to be looked at. The MOD wants this to be as transparent as possible, so that everybody can have confidence in the service justice system and the reputation of our armed forces can remain untarnished.