Welsh Conservative Assembly Members welcome pledge to protect UK Armed Forces from vexatious claims

The Conservatives marked Armistice Day with a pledge to protect Armed Forces personnel from unfounded legal action.

Assembly Members Mark Isherwood and Darren Millar have welcomed the pledge by the Conservatives that they will end vexatious claims against serving and former UK Armed Forces personnel.

The announcement was made today (November 11, 2019) by Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace – himself a veteran – on Radio 4’s Today programme.

Mr Wallace stated that many of the claims are “unfair” and have been pursued by lawyers who, to use his words “… went shopping around Iraq and Afghanistan looking for victims”.

Mr Isherwood said: “For too long have our serving personnel and veterans been at risk of these vexatious claims, and while genuine cases must and should be investigated, personnel – predominantly soldiers and Royal Marines – have had the threat of legal action against them adding to the anxieties of current service personnel facing conflict and former service personnel who have experienced it.”

The AM for North Wales, whose portfolio includes being policy lead in relation to the Armed Forces in Wales and for veterans, added:

“Most nations say that their armed forces are the best, but the United Kingdom can lay claim this. HM Armed Forces – and historically, many of whom have come from Wales – set the standard for armed forces worldwide.

“This not just in terms of leadership, effectiveness, dedication, and training, but also in terms of compassion, diligence, and discretion exercised, often in the most stressful and dangerous of situations.”

His Welsh Conservative colleague, Darren Millar, who chairs the Cross Party Group on the Armed Forces and Cadets, echoed Mr Isherwood’s words before adding: “Our servicemen and women risk their lives not only for our country, but other nations around the world. The stress that the threat of unfounded legal action can have on our service personnel affects them before a deployment and on operations, and adds to the worry their families feel.

“We must do all we can to protect those who protect us, and who have protected us.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that a Conservative majority government would introduce legislation to ensure the Law of Armed Conflict has primacy and that peacetime laws are not applied to service personnel on military operations.