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Volume 405: debated on Monday 12 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to replace assets used or lost in the Iraq conflict. [112235]

We are gathering evidence and assessing the lessons emerging from the Iraq conflict so that realistic decisions can be made on whether the equipment and logistical stocks lost or used will, or will not, be replaced.


To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. [112239]

I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave earlier today to the hon. Member for Leominster (Mr. Wiggin) and the hon. Member for Romford (Mr. Rosindell).

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the contract journalists embedded with British forces involved in the invasion of Iraq were required to sign in advance of their placements. [111363]

Journalists embedded with British forces serving in Iraq were not required to sign a contract as such. They were, however, required to sign a copy of Annexes B to E of the Green Book—Working Arrangements with the Media during times of Emergency, Tension, Conflict or War. A copy of this book, with the relevant Annexes, is accessible on the MOD website, at foreword.htm

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what services are available for the support of members of the armed forces as they return home from Iraq. [111778]

All personnel returning from Operation TELIC, whether Regulars or Reservists, will be provided with appropriate support measures acknowledging that each individuals experience of the conflict will be different. The procedures will vary slightly between each Service according to need, but are essentially similar and delivered in three stages: recovery, normalisation and after care. Each stage has support services ranging from medical screening and debriefings to post-operational tour leave. For example, building on lessons from earlier conflicts, personnel from 3 Commando Brigade will have a period of two weeks in their barracks, with night leave, to allow additional time to decompress and normalise while fulfilling equipment maintenance tasks. At all stages of the process, personnel have access to Sendee welfare specialists when required including medical officers, chaplains and also representatives from external bodies such as SSAFA-Forces Help.Procedures are in place to ensure that personnel do not miss end-of-deployment medical briefings given in theatre enabling data to be extracted for clinical audit and post-deployment health surveillance purposes. Measures are also in place to raise awareness of PTSD and other stress-related disorders which may occur among Service personnel.Commanders have been made aware of such vital issues as combat stress indicators, the difficulties surrounding the return of personnel and re-union with their loved ones, and the effect that the deployment may have had on their children. Two Leaflets—Coming Home and Dealing with Traumatic Experiences—are handed to all personnel leaving the operational area. In addition, leaflets are sent to families to alert them to the possible after-effects of the operational deployment including special booklets and advice for children.Each person will have the opportunity to be properly de-briefed by personnel within the command chain. This commitment to after care is enduring, recognising that the needs of individuals change in the longer term.I also refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement on 7 May 2003,

Official Report, column 34WS on the decision to conduct research into the physical and psychological health of those involved in the conflict.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the planned work of the War Graves Commission in Iraq. [112081]

Subject to the continuing improvement in the overall security environment, Commonwealth War Graves Commission staff are scheduled to arrive in Iraq on 23 June 2003, when they will begin their work to restore the cemeteries and memorials to the 54,000 Commonwealth Servicemen who are buried in the 13 cemeteries throughout Iraq.