Results 101–120 of 2000 for (in the 'Commons debates' OR in the 'Westminster Hall debates' OR in the 'Lords debates' OR in the 'Northern Ireland Assembly debates') speaker:John Penrose

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: May I start by saying that I certainly agree with the underlying premise of the hon. Gentleman’s point, which is that we need to make sure that we are doing the right thing by our armed forces? The difficulty lies with the legal underpinnings. The legal difference between soldiers serving abroad versus soldiers serving in Northern Ireland in support of the police is important. It means...

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: The Northern Ireland letters of comfort, as I have already said, do not stop prosecutions under the latest legal guidance. Therefore, we have to come up with something that gets us to the point that the hon. Gentleman is trying to illustrate, but it must have a different legal foundation to it. I wish it were simpler. I wish that it were not the case, but it is and we have to take the world...

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: I could not agree more. My right hon. Friend rightly points out that he has stood in my shoes on this issue. I am sure he is absolutely right that, to anybody serving in Her Majesty’s armed forces—whether they served in peacekeeping operations or not, and whether they served in Northern Ireland or in other parts of the world—the practical effect will feel the same.

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: As my right hon. Friend rightly points out, he was given a medal for it. The only point on which I would pull him up is that, although the practical effect may feel the same, the legal underpinnings—again, I appreciate that he contested this—are different. Although we may wish that were not so, it is so. Therefore, we have to come up with something that will withstand legal challenge. As...

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: That is precisely why we need to come up with these proposals as fast as we can. It is clear from both sides of the House that the time for action is now—well, it was probably several years ago actually—and that this situation cannot be allowed to persist. The hon. Lady’s example is only one of a spectrum of concerns, depending on which part of the community one talks to in Northern...

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: My hon. Friend is absolutely right. I certainly did not want to imply that we are countenancing being leisurely about this. This situation has been wrong for many years. The only reason for not announcing something tomorrow—or, indeed, today or yesterday—is simply that we need to ensure that we have put all the answers from the consultation out and in front of the House, so people have a...

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: Let me first address the right hon. Gentleman’s point about whether this is a matter for the Ministry of Defence or the Northern Ireland Office. He is of course right that the Ministry of Defence has a major, major stake in getting this right. As he would expect—as everybody would expect—the Secretary of State for Defence wants to make sure that this issue is dealt with as promptly as...

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: My hon. Friend makes a very important point about people facing current cases, regardless of whether we wish to design an alternative process that may mean in future many of them will not have to undergo the process, which I think everybody here agrees would be sensible where possible and appropriate. For those who have to do so, however, we absolutely need to make sure that there is proper...

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: I assure the hon. Gentleman that this issue has not landed on anybody’s desk in the Northern Ireland Office out of a clear blue sky—it has been taking up a very large proportion of everybody’s care and attention. It is probably fair to say that it was doing so under former Labour Governments as well as the current Government, and indeed the coalition Government. It is certainly not a...

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: I completely agree. I was trying to make this point in response to a couple of earlier questions, but let me have another crack at it. For members of Her Majesty’s armed forces serving on the ground, no matter where they are, if they are on similar kinds of operation, the practical effect and feel of those operations will be the same. My hon. Friend, who is my parliamentary neighbour in...

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: “Equally and fairly to all sides” have to be our watch-words for the outcome of publishing the results of the consultation and the process of coming up with a Bill that works. It has to be equal and fair to both sides, otherwise it will not endure, it will not work, and it will not protect our forces in the way that we all want.

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: I wish I could give my hon. Friend a specific date. We are trying to get through this as fast as we can. I hope he will understand that, with 17,000 responses, each telling a story of personal tragedy, we needed to ensure we were honouring the sense in which those were provided. Having worked through that, we need to move at pace, and we will endeavour to do so. I cannot give him a precise...

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: Yes, yes, and emphatically yes.

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: I am not in that part of those talks, so I would not be able to tell my hon. Friend that one way or another. I can say, however—this returns to my earlier answer to my right hon. Friend the Member for Rayleigh and Wickford (Mr Francois)—that rancid deals should have no part in how we treat our veterans in any case.

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: I agree strongly that the scales of justice must be able to balance, and it is not just a question of balancing in one or two cases—they must balance for all cases, and be seen to balance by all sides. We are all here today because there is a widespread perception, on both sides of the community in Northern Ireland, that those scales are tilted for different reasons in different ways. My...

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: They may not have ever been prosecuted, but the letters do not provide immunity from prosecution.

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: The difference is that, were a case to be brought tomorrow, those letters would not be a piece of legal body armour. It is important that we make that point, and I hope the message will go out loud and clear from the Chamber that anyone who thinks they can swan around scot-free as a result of that does not have the legal protection that some people may have thought they did.

Investigation of Veterans (16 May 2019)

John Penrose: That has to be correct. That is why we are talking about bringing forward a Bill in this place to change the law in order to put this right. My right hon. Friend is also right to say—I think he is echoing the point made by my parliamentary neighbour, my hon. Friend the Member for Wells (James Heappey)—that for serving soldiers who get campaign or operation medals, whatever it may be, it...

Climate Change Policy: Northern Ireland Executive (23 Apr 2019)

John Penrose: I am delighted that everybody accepts, with a degree of reluctance and frustration, that the statutory instrument, while not wanted, is necessary. I thank everybody for saying, albeit with a heavy heart— I think that goes for all of us—that they will support it. I appreciate and recognise the degree of cross-party support. It is more powerful because it is cross-party. That is not say...

Climate Change Policy: Northern Ireland Executive (23 Apr 2019)

John Penrose: I am sure everybody here would appreciate that the senior civil servants in the Northern Ireland civil service are faced with a very, very difficult position. They are being required to keep the wheels of good government turning. The Northern Ireland (Executive Formation and Exercise of Functions) Act 2018 equips them to do that, but clearly they have to be extremely careful not to take new...


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