EDIT: This interview was conducted before the collapse of the LAB-DRF-TPM and LPUK-LD coalition agreements.
LeChevalierMal-Fait and Markthemonkey888 are senior Libertarian Members of Parliament representing the constituencies of West Yorkshire and Black Country respectively. Both have a keen interest in defence policy and the welfare of service personnel – serving and former. We met in a popular coffee shop chain in Central London. As the House of Commons lies empty and the next government is negotiated (or not) we discuss the Armed Forces Covenant Bill.
Thank you both for making yourselves available. Let’s discuss the Armed Forces Covenant Bill. The Bill would see the appointment of a Commissioner to champion the Armed Forces but would also cast an Armed Forces Covenant in British law. Why is this necessary and why does this Bill deserve support?
The first point to make is that the covenant as it came into being in 2002 is voluntary. There are some groups like the MoD and the chain of command who take their responsibilities under the covenant very seriously. Some councils also do an excellent job but in other areas it’s very spotty.
To me it is wrong that access to support should be a postcode lottery. If you wear the uniform you should be entitled to the same support.
Finally as to why we need the convention in the first place, it’s a contract between the nation and those who protect and serve us.
They should be entitled to the same rights and standards of public service as anyone else, we need to ensureLeChevalierMal-Fait
Your commitment to the Armed Forces is admirable. What do you make of Labour’s adoption of a policy to abolish the Trident nuclear deterrent?
It’s foolhardiness of the highest order, but don’t just take it from me. Just the other week I was talking to a veteran who had served extensively in West Germany in the 1970 when the USSR has a huge conventional lead, and he told me something that I found really profound.
He said he felt comfort from doing Chemical Biological Nuclear and Radiological defence drill.
And I asked him why? it felt morbid to me. But you see he told me that he felt comfort because it reminded him that the British nuclear deterrent was out there too. And that no matter what the intelligence reports he got about Soviet conventional superiority, he felt confident that deterrence would be maintained.
And just like that veteran could never have predicted the massive changes we have seen in the last fifty years.
We today have no idea what the next fifty years will look like. A British nuclear deterrent is a guarantee of peace and stability against any eventually.LeChevalierMal-Fait
I think I made it rather clear in my whitepaper I wrote two terms ago. I am a strong supporter of trident and will remain so. [LeChevalierMal-Fait] and I are currently working with our friends and colleagues in parliament to ensure that Trident remains strong for the future.Markthemonkey888
We also find ourselves in a coalition forming period. With the speculation of a LAB-DRF-TPM coalition agreement all but secure do you believe it is likely Labour will return to Number 10? What are your personal thoughts of this coalition and does another viable government exist?
Of course I have some personal thoughts on it, but if we do see it and I remain doubtful, then I hope they will work across the house to help members of the armed forces community deal with the challenges they face on account of their service so that our service personnel can no longer face a higher risk of sexual assault than the general public, so that veterans are able to transition back to civilian life and get a good job and so that children of veterans are supported properly with the pastoral care that they need.LeChevalierMal-Fait
Well, by the time I am answering this interview, that coalition deal sounds like it will be falling through. I think if any coalition with TPM in it is doom to fail. I don’t see how any party like Labour or the DRF, will scoop low enough as to work with people with the maturity and capabilities of a 15 year old, not to mention most of their policies being horrible for the national economy and interest. I think most likely we will see a tory minority government with the LPUK-ID in official opposition while labour goes to UO.Markthemonkey888
Markthemonkey888 with the E-Cigarette Control and Regulation Bill and the Armed Forces Covenant Bill you’ve been on a legislation drive. Can we expect anything else from you for what remains of the term?
Yes! LeChevalierMal-Fait and I have been working hard, and you will see two or three more pieces from us before the coalition period ends!Markthemonkey888
LeChevalierMal-Fait you are somewhat of a veteran of British politics if you don’t mind me saying so. You are also a former Conservative Member of Parliament, rising to the position of Deputy Leader. If I can ask what do you make of the recent Conservative Leadership election and the state of Conservative-Libertarian relations – having served in that government yourself.
The state of relations between the parties is to me puzzling. Under no rational leader should relations have been allowed to reach such a level.
When I left the deputy leaders office, the parties were working prosperously together in government. I have no doubt that they can again, but there certainly is a vacuum of trust.
I have hope that Yukub is the right choice to fix this, certainly I have only found him to be an honourable decent principled man in my experience.LeChevalierMal-Fait