Amendment 19

Part of Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill - Committee (1st Day) – in the House of Lords at 9:15 pm on 9 March 2021.

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Photo of Lord West of Spithead Lord West of Spithead Labour 9:15, 9 March 2021

My Lords, I shall speak to Amendment 29 in support of my noble friend Lord Tunnicliffe and the noble and gallant Lords, Lord Boyce and Lord Stirrup. The de facto six-year time limit for claims being brought against Ministers and the MoD arising from active service abroad seems at first sight far from protecting our people, but rather reducing the rights of individual service personnel. Those injured as a result of negligence during overseas operations, unlike in the UK, will have less protection under the law. Veterans and service charities, as was mentioned by the noble Baroness, Lady Smith of Newnham, are very worried and have been taking quite a lot of notice of this. The British Legion and other charities are very concerned.

To keep this short, it seems that the Bill seeks to protect the MoD from claims by our servicemen, rather than trying to look after them. Again, I am absolutely sure that that is not the intention, and this amendment tries to rectify that problem.