Victoria Tower Gardens is next to the Houses of Parliament.
Politics

Legislation To Tackle Vexatious Claims Against Forces To Be Introduced 'Within 100 Days’

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was speaking at Commons defence questions.

Victoria Tower Gardens is next to the Houses of Parliament.

Legislative plans to tackle vexatious claims against armed forces personnel will be introduced within 100 days, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said.

Mr Wallace said the Conservative Government had a commitment in its party’s manifesto to bring forward such measures.

His comments came as MPs from across the House pressed ministers for further information on the timing for the legislation.

Speaking during Commons defence questions, shadow defence minister Gerald Jones said the Government has "repeatedly promised to take action".

However, Mr Jones added, "we have so far to see any concrete plans" and asked Mr Wallace to provide an outline and "an exact date on when the Government will be introducing legislation."

Responding to the question, Mr Wallace said the Government has a commitment "to bring forward, within 100 days, measures to deal with this policy area around vexatious claims around our veterans."

"We owe a huge debt of gratitude to our armed forces who perform exceptional feats in incredibly difficult circumstances to protect this country," he added.

"While our servicemen and women are rightly held to [the] highest standards of behaviour, we must ensure the law is applied consistently, promptly and fairly."

Conservative Adam Afriyie said he wants servicemen and women in his constituency to "feel safe" and "secure in the knowledge that they will not be hounded and harassed by vexatious litigation for decades to come."

"The Government will be shortly introducing a legislative package to ensure our service personnel and veterans have access to the legal protections they deserve," Mr Wallace said in response to Mr Afriyie.

"This builds on the consultation held over last summer of proposed legal protections, measures for armed forces personnel and veterans who have served in operations outside the UK."

Mark Francois, Conservative MP for Rayleigh, spoke of the reestablishment of the Northern Ireland executive, "but not at the price of selling our veterans down the river to appease Sinn Fein."

Mr Francois asked the Defence Secretary if he could assure that "we will defend who defended us."

"No Government in history has done more to talk about or try and deliver protection for our servicemen and women from vexatious claims and inquests and this committed to resolving this issue," Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Johnny Mercer, said.

"This PM has promised to do so and you’ve heard from the secretary of state this afternoon it’ll be done within 100 days."

Cover image: Library image of Houses of Parliament.