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DUP Westminster Leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson has welcomed a commitment from the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland that when the Armed Forces Bill comes forward in Parliament Northern Ireland will be treated on the same basis as the rest of the United Kingdom with full implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant.

He received the commitment during Northern Ireland Questions in the House of Commons.

Speaking afterwards the Lagan Valley MP said, "There are a great many people across Northern Ireland who have served in our Armed Forces and they are an integral part of our community. The New Decade New Approach agreement which paved the way for the restoration of devolution has seen the Government meet its commitment to appoint Northern Ireland's first Veterans' Commissioner. This was a significant step forward for veterans and the Commissioner has already been active in his role.

The agreement committed the government to UK-wide legislation to further incorporate the Armed Forces Covenant into law and support its full implementation. Full implementation of the Covenant is something the DUP has pressed for over many years now to ensure that our service personnel and veterans get equitable treatment compared to those they served alongside from other parts of the UK.

The Secretary of State was clear in his commitment today that the Armed Forces Bill will treat Northern Ireland exactly the same as other parts of the United Kingdom with full implementation of the Covenant.

it will be important for everyone to recognise that when the Armed Forces Bill eventually passes into law that it will apply right across all parts of the United Kingdom and ensure they meet the legal commitments contained within it. The failure to fully implement the Armed Force Covenant in Northern Ireland up until now has let down our veterans and this move should end that injustice."