Select Committee on Defence First Report



The Armed Forces Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 30 November 2005. The Bill consolidates the Service Discipline Acts into a single piece of legislation that will be subject to five-yearly renewal. This report draws attention to two issues of concern.
First, the Government's promised independent element in the complaints system is inadequate. The Bill does not include sufficient detail for an extensive analysis of the proposals, but the changes appear not to go far enough. Our predecessor Committee set out a model for an independent military complaints commission—we urge Government to bring forward new proposals which will satisfy the principal requirements of that model.
Second, the Government proposes to remove the requirement for Parliament to approve the annual renewal of the Service Discipline Acts. We reject that proposal, which would diminish Parliament's right to exercise control over the Armed Forces, which is central to our constitution, and call on the Government to amend the Bill.

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© Parliamentary copyright 2005
Prepared 8 December 2005