BORIS Johnson announces the first Government office to care for our forces’ vets — in a huge victory for The Sun.
The PM has created a powerful new Office for Veterans Affairs in his administration.
It means, for the first time, our forces personnel have a dedicated cross-Government champion with the clout to push through real change and ensure “world-class” care.
It will sit inside the Cabinet Office and be jointly run by the new Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer and Paymaster General Oliver Dowden, who attends Cabinet.
The move fulfils Mr Johnson’s promise to The Sun three weeks ago when he signed up to the Veterans Pledge, drawn up by us and forces charities.
The PM said: “The brave men and women who serve in our military truly represent the best of Britain.
The Sun has rightly campaigned for a dedicated Office for Veterans Affairs to ensure those who serve can get the world-class care and support they deserve after they leave the Armed Forces. This Government will deliver on the pledge.”
New Veterans Minister Mr Mercer said it was “the first time in its history” the Government’s efforts to help vets will be joined up.
The Army officer- turned MP also named his first two priorities in office are to see parts 2 and 3 of the Veterans Pledge are honoured as soon as possible.
The Sun also called for the military covenant to be enshrined in law — and for new laws to end vexatious “witch hunts” against troops, including in Northern Ireland.
Mr Mercer said: “I’m delighted with the role. The PM has tasked me to end the repeated and vexatious pursuit of veterans by so-called Lawfare and to put together legislation to place the Forces covenant into law, in line with a pledge first made by the Conservative Party in 2009.”
Help For Heroes CEO Mel Waters added: “We intend to work closely with the Office for Veterans Affairs to ensure it makes a positive difference to the lives of veterans and their families, many of whom feel let down by the current system.”
THE SUN SAYS: GREAT START, BORIS
THREE cheers for Boris – he said he’d deliver for our heroes, and he has.
We’ve got all too used to politicians talking the talk but not walking the walk when it matters.
That’s one of the reasons trust in Westminster has almost disappeared. Well, this is a welcome step in the right direction.
And it’ll benefit the very bravest Brits. When we launched this campaign, we demanded that those who put their lives on the line get the support they need once they put away their uniform. That work starts now.
The new Minister, Johnny Mercer, has got plenty to be getting on with — as our interview with Helmand hero Gary Weaving today shows.
But make no mistake.
In signing up to our campaign, Boris has put veterans at the heart of his Government. And it’s not before time.