A DUP delegation has met with the Armed Forces Minister, James Heappey MP and discussed further progress on the Armed Forces Bill, its support for our soldiers and fulfilment of the New Decade New Approach.
Commenting after, Defence Spokesman Gavin Robinson MP said;
"We had a wide ranging, constructive and encouraging discussion. The Minister knows Northern Ireland well, having previously served in the Province. We thanked him sincerely for the ongoing support members of our Armed Forces are giving to the NHS in Northern Ireland and their enduring commitment.
It was also an opportunity to thank him for the swift resolution to the concerns raised around internal movements of our Armed Forces. Following engagement by the First Minister Arlene Foster with the Defence Secretary, there are no future or ongoing impediments.
Finally, we assured the Minister of our support for the Armed Forces Bill.
It receives its 2nd reading in the House of Commons on Monday and places in law, a statutory duty to honour the Armed Forces Covenant on Health, Housing and Education. This commitment delivers on my Private Members Bill in February 2019 and the subsequent commitment secured in New Decade New Approach in January 2020.
Once passed, Veterans will be able to benefit for the same legislative commitment right across the UK. Never again will an Executive Minister in Northern Ireland be able to suggest the Armed Forces Covenant does not apply in Northern Ireland. Just as Veterans served us all, we will ensure their service is recognised no matter where they live in this United Kingdom."