On 10 July 2012, I sat opposite David Cameron in the Cabinet Room in Number Ten. We were both there to talk about the Armed Forces Covenant. The meeting was chaired by Oliver Letwin and attended by middle-ranking ministers from all of the home departments of government and the military and organisations supporting military families. I was representing the Local Government Association.
All of us had crossed a red carpet when we walked through the door of Number Ten because the French President was visiting. DC saw him off and then hurried to join the meeting to add his endorsement to the concept of the Armed Forces Covenant and its civilian counterpart, the Community Covenant. That commitment came over strongly in the way DC listened and participated in our debate.
I am therefore disappointed to see BBC News reports that are questioning the MoD’s commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant. The MoD and the charity, Help for Heroes, both come under fire and one army family gives a graphic and damning cricitism of the lack of care for a badly injured paratrooper. Here is a BBC news report.
On the same day, Channel 4 carries a depressing report about Commonwealth soldiers who are losing out on their chance of British citizenship after serving our country because of minor disciplinary offences that do not amount to any equivalent in criminal law. Here is a link to the Channel 4 news report.
Come on DC. Ask someone to look at these news reports and check whether the country is really living up to the Armed Forces Covenant that you and I think is hugely important.