Today, I am announcing the publication of the Ministry of Defence (MOD)’s Analysis and Response to the 2019 public consultation on "Legal Protections for Armed Forces Personnel and Veterans serving in operations outside the United Kingdom". A copy has been placed in the Library of the House and will be published on GOV.UK.
There were over 4,200 responses to the consultation, with approximately 3,750 of respondents identifying as being a current serving member of the Armed Forces, or a veteran, or a relative of either. We also received approximately 20 responses from legal firms, interest groups and NGOs.
The Analysis and Response includes statistical data and identifies the key themes drawn from the textual comments provided by respondents. A MOD response has been provided for each question set to explain how we have reflected on these key themes, and also against the more general points made by respondents (points not directly linked to the questions and measures in the consultation). While the responses to the consultation proposals were overwhelmingly supportive, in order to ensure a balanced analysis, we have also referenced where respondents either did not support or expressed concerns about the proposed measures.
The analysis of the responses helped to guide our thinking and to shape the legal protections measures that we introduced on 18 March 2020 in the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill, to deliver our manifesto commitment to legislate to prevent vexatious claims being brought against the Armed Forces. I look forward to discussing this vitally important issue with the House at Second Reading of the Bill.