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Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:21 pm on 29th March 2006.

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Photo of Lord Drayson Lord Drayson Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Defence Procurement), Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Procurement) 4:21 pm, 29th March 2006

My Lords, I am grateful to the right reverend Prelate for making those points. I am particularly grateful for his point about the need for reflection. We absolutely agree, which is why we believe in taking the time to reflect fully on the recommendations made by Blake, properly thinking through the conclusions following that reflection, which will be in the form of a public discussion, and ensuring that implementation following that reflection is full and thorough.

I should also stress that in considering, as we should, the concerns that have been expressed about the welfare of young people and the points made about life choices, we should not forget the tremendous job done by the services, and by the British Army in particular, in the 12 weeks from joining the Army to the completion of phase 1 basic training, and the transformation in these young people. Anyone who has experienced a passing-out parade will see the miracle that can happen. Thousands of young people who pass safely through the hands of the Army go on to make a tremendous contribution to us—their country. It can make a positive change to their lives—a real change for the better. We should not lose sight of that in our proper concern for the lessons that need to be learnt when things go wrong, as they clearly have in these cases.