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Labour is calling for urgent cross-party talks to end discrimination against our Armed Forces.
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Greater legal protections for the Armed Forces and their families must be examined as we seek to end abuse of the service community.
Labour believes the principles of the Military Covenant should characterise the whole of our society and that where they fail to apply necessary protections must be in place.
The Government must bring together all parties, the Military and service charities to discuss how we can help make this a reality.
Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy MP has today written to Philip Hammond asking talks to begin. The full text of the letter can be found below:
Secretary of State for Defence
Ministry of Defence
27 May 2012
Dear Secretary of State,
I am writing to urge you to hold cross party talks on how to end discrimination against our Armed Forces and their families, including the option of introducing new legal protections for the service community.
There are many examples of legal rights for specific groups to protect against discrimination, harassment or abuse, but none for the Armed Forces and wider service community. Recent evidence shows that discrimination remains an issue and we believe now is the time to discuss enshrining greater protection for service personnel, veterans and their families.
We support the progress that has been made by enshrining the Military Covenant in law, but believe we can take this further to ensure the principle that no-one should suffer disadvantage as a result of service applies across society, not just in limited policy areas, and becomes a characteristic of our country.
In taking this forward it is vital that we work with the Military and service charities. We want to work closely with the Military to ensure this in no way impacts on rules covering active service, and with charities since they are closest to the service community we all aim to support.
I hope we can all agree that any and all discrimination against the Service community should be ended, and I hope you will therefore hold cross party talks at the soonest possible opportunity. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss with you the form these could take.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Rt Hon Jim Murphy MP Shadow Defence Secretary