13 November 2019
DUP East Belfast Candidate Gavin Robinson has said veterans in Northern Ireland must not be treated as second class soldiers compared to their counterparts in the rest of the United Kingdom.
Mr Robinson said,
“We lead the United Kingdom in terms of military service per head of the population. Northern Ireland needs a strong team of MPs in Westminster to ensure our soldiers and veterans get equitable treatment with their counterparts across the rest of the United Kingdom. A DUP team will ensure they are not treated as second class soldiers or veterans.
We will be pressing for the full implementation of the Military Covenant for all veterans across the full UK, as well as ensuring that the Covenant itself is delivering fully for our service personnel.
Local veterans must be treated entirely on an equal basis with veterans in all other parts of the UK. That must be the case both in practise and in the full spirit of the Covenant. There can be no caveats or further procrastination from the Government. It is also clear that across the UK , the Government needs to establish an Office for Veterans Affairs to ensure full implementation of the Covenant with reach beyond Whitehall into the devolved administrations. Our veterans deserve nothing less.
The NATO commitment of spending 2% of GDP on defence is vital. That is why it formed part of our Confidence and Supply agreement. We share the view that 2% should be a ‘floor’ rather than a ‘ceiling’.
Our Armed Forces have made an immense contribution to our society in the UK, defending us in international conflicts and protecting us at home against the evils of terrorism, particularly in Operation Banner during the dark days of the Troubles. We owe an immense degree of gratitude to our veterans. They have ensured that we can enjoy freedom and democracy.”