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In June 2010 the Prime Minister pledged to ‘enshrine’ the Military Covenant in law. The extent to which the Armed Forces Bill, as introduced, fulfilled that pledge has been the subject of intense debate both during the Select Committee stage of the Bill and during a number of Opposition Day debates that have taken place since the Bill’s introduction.

The Committee of the Whole House and remaining Commons stages of the Armed Forces Bill were delayed by the Government at the beginning of May amid speculation that the Government was reconsidering the provisions in the Bill relating to the Military Covenant, following a campaign by the Royal British Legion and several newspapers to get the legislation amended.

Indeed, on 15 May 2011 the Prime Minister announced that aspects of the Military Covenant would now be written into the Bill. The Secretary of State for Defence provided further details to the House on 16 May when the Government also published the first Tri-Service Armed Forces Covenant, along with a document outlining the practical measures that are being undertaken to implement the Covenant, and future commitments in this area.

This note examines the Committee of the Whole House amendments to the Armed Forces Bill that have been tabled thus far.

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