Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, Vernon Coaker MP, has pledged his support for a Private Members Bill that would make it a criminal offence physically or verbally to assault a member of the Armed Forces or their family.
The Bill, to be introduced in the House of Commons tomorrow (Friday 24.01.13), would give Armed Forces additional protection against discrimination similar to that which ethnic minorities, disabled people and LGBT receive. He said:
“There are still too many members of our Armed Forces who face discrimination as they go about their daily lives. It’s sad to think that those who fight for our country might need the protection of our laws, but some do.
“The Government promised that it would address this in the Armed Forces Covenant Report at the end of last year, but it failed even to mention discrimination faced by members of the Armed Forces.
“That’s why Labour is supporting a change to the law so that for the first time ever it would be a specific criminal offence to attack members of our Armed Forces. Our dedicated and committed servicemen and women should be treated with the dignity that their bravery deserves, and this will help ensure that is the case.”
Thomas Docherty MP, Labour MP for Dunfermline and West Fife, who is introducing the Bill, said:
“I’m grateful for the support of Labour’s frontbench team led by Vernon Coaker. I hope it helps to persuade the Government to act.
“My Bill proposes introducing a straightforward measure that would provide long overdue protection to those brave men and women who serve our nation.
“It is only right that those who risk their lives overseas to protect our freedom are themselves protected from mindless yobs and from bigotry when they return home.”