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Army Reserves: Covid-19

Volume 680: debated on Monday 21 September 2020

Some 1,800 Army reserves were mobilised as part of Operation Rescript, the MOD’s contribution to the covid response. From distributing personal protective equipment in the NHS to delivering mobile testing units and helping build the Nightingale hospitals, our fantastic reservists and the unique skills that they bring have been invaluable in helping the country manage the covid pandemic.

I want to begin by thanking my constituent Josh Grant and others from Crewe and Nantwich who were mobilised as part of the Mercian regiment and were willing to step up and help our country at a time of crisis. What can we learn from the use of remote mobilisation as part of our efforts, and what more can we do to support employers and reservists whose deployment time is reduced from what they have already agreed with their employers?

I join my hon. Friend in paying tribute to his constituent, and I thank him for his service. As my hon. Friend will appreciate, there is a balance between making the reserve as easily deployable as possible and reservists’ not unreasonable expectation to have some certainty about the duration of their mobilisation. My fantastic predecessor has now accessorised some ermine with his combats. Brigadier Lord Lancaster will be conducting a reserve forces review over the coming months, in which exactly these sorts of issues will receive his attention.