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10 Feb 2009 : Column 1350

Limited information is available about the investigation carried out in respect of the redress. I can therefore only refer my hon. Friend to the letter of my predecessor of 30 January 2006, which found that Mr. Stuart had been requested to provide further information in support of his redress of complaint to enable the investigation to take place. Unfortunately, despite a number of reminders, Mr. Stuart failed to provide the requested information and a decision was then taken to close the case. While there are no specific guidelines within Queen’s Regulation 1001 regarding the closure of a case prior to submission to the Air Force Board, every reasonable course of action should be taken to ensure that all relevant information is available to enable the board to make a judgment on the case. Mr. Stuart had the option to request an extension to the deadline to enable him to provide the relevant information, but there is unfortunately nothing on the record to indicate that that was ever requested or that any further explanation was actually provided.

In conclusion, it has been nearly 14 years since Mr. Stuart was invalided from the Air Force. I would like to put on record my thanks to him, as to all former servicemen and women, for their service to this country. Limited papers are now available to enable a further investigation to take place. That said, having considered the exchanges of correspondence and the information that has been presented to my predecessors, I am assured that all the complaints have been thoroughly investigated and that Mr. Stuart has been treated fairly within the parameters of the Queen’s Regulations. In light of the fact that Mr. Stuart has accepted compensation in a full and final settlement of his injuries, there is no real basis for reopening the case now.

In those circumstances and in the light of what has been said, and after looking at the case in detail today, I feel that there is really no way forward. I congratulate my hon. Friend again on securing this debate. I hope it is helpful to him if I say that if either he or Mr. Stuart has any further evidence that has not been presented so far, I would be willing to meet to discuss any such points and to see whether anything has been overlooked. I leave that option open to my hon. Friend; if he brings any more evidence forward, I will certainly meet him at his convenience.

Question put and agreed to.

9.59 pm

House adjourned.

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