Johnny Mercer: Veterans minister leaves authorities amid row over protections for ex-soldiers

Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer speaks to pupils at Sandhurst Primary School in south east London, to raise awareness of the 75th anniversaries of VE and VJ day later this year.

2021-04-20 23:36:00

Veterans minister Johnny Mercer has left the federal government amid his unhappiness over a scarcity of progress on laws designed to guard ex-soldiers who served in Northern Eire.

The previous military officer – who served three excursions in Afghanistan – stated he was “sorry to have been relieved of my duties” on Tuesday evening, suggesting he had been sacked.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Mercer wrote: “It’s with a heavy coronary heart that I’m compelled to give you my resignation from authorities.”

Shortly earlier than information of his departure from authorities was confirmed, Mr Mercer informed Sky Information as he left parliament on Tuesday: “I’ve received nothing to say, they’ll all play these foolish video games – I am not .

“I’ve made my place clear to the federal government, I’ve received nothing to say.”

Mr Mercer – who backed Mr Johnson for the Conservative management in 2019 – has been closely concerned within the Abroad Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Invoice, which goes by means of its last levels in parliament.

The laws plans to introduce stronger authorized protections for UK troops serving abroad, with ministers citing the issues of a earlier investigation into allegations made towards Iraq struggle veterans as one instance of the necessity to legislate.

Nonetheless, the invoice doesn’t apply to operations in the UK, together with occasions that occurred in Northern Eire throughout The Troubles, though the federal government had promised to introduce separate laws to handle the legacy of the previous in Northern Eire.

In his letter to the prime minister, Mr Mercer wrote: “I’m deeply pleased with my predecessors who served in Northern Eire. They aren’t second-class veterans.

“They deserve the protections of the Abroad Operations Invoice like everybody else. A coverage resolution was taken to not embody them.

“I made guarantees in your behalf that we’d not go away them behind and would stroll by means of simultaneous laws for them.

“No discernible efforts have been made to take action, and I can see no prospect of this altering.

“I’ve no selection however to go away authorities and marketing campaign for them in parliament.”

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A Quantity 10 spokesperson confirmed the prime minister had accepted Mr Mercer’s resignation as Minister for Defence Individuals and Veterans.

“He thanks Johnny Mercer for his service as a authorities minister since 2019,” the spokesperson added.

It’s understood Mr Mercer might be changed as veterans minister by Aldershot MP Leo Docherty, a fellow military veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001 to 2007.

He wrote Desert of Demise, a ebook about his time within the armed forces, in 2007.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace posted on Twitter: “Johnny Mercer has been a passionate advocate for veterans & the complete Armed Forces group throughout his time as a minister.

“I need to thank him for his dedication to the federal government’s ambition to make the UK the perfect place on this planet to be a veteran.”

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