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Armed Forces' Standards and Values

Volume 658: debated on Wednesday 10 April 2019

The Ministry of Defence and our armed forces expect the highest standards from our personnel. The vast majority not only meet, but exceed these standards on a daily basis in all manner of challenging situations, wherever they are deployed, reinforcing the values on which we pride ourselves. However, it is clear that in a number of cases the standards and values we expect are not being met.

The Ministry of Defence and our armed forces are absolutely clear that there is no place for sexual offending or sexual harassment across the services. Inappropriate behaviour is unacceptable and it stands in stark contrast with everything the armed forces represent. Anyone found to have committed a sexual offence will be dealt with appropriately and will face the full force of the law. To ensure our service personnel are adhering to the highest standards, I have commissioned Air Marshal Michael Wigston, deputy commander for capability at HQ Air Command, to conduct an urgent report into inappropriate behaviour, to include sexual harassment, across the services.

The objectives of the report are threefold: to understand the current evidence regarding inappropriate behaviour across the services; to make recommendations on what can be done to ensure and reassure that the armed forces are an inclusive and modern employer; and, to identify areas for further action, including potential improvements to controls, processes or policy. The Air Marshal will provide me with a report of his findings and recommendations by mid-May. Once the recommendations have been considered and implementation plans have been agreed, the House will be updated.