The following Parliamentary Written Answer from the Minister for the Armed
Forces has been received by Michael Fabricant following accusations of rape
and bullying at the Whittington Barracks.
Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will
make a statement on the investigation of allegations of (a) rape and (b)
bullying at the Army Training Regiment in Whittington Barracks near
Lichfield; and what steps he is taking to reassure relations of soldiers at
the barracks of their safety.
Dr. Lewis Moonie: The allegations made recently refer to events that are
said to have occurred in 1997 and earlier. In respect of the rape
allegation, no formal complaint has been made to the Ministry of Defence and
there is no specific investigation ongoing. Naturally, should the allegation
be made formally, then the department will instigate a full and proper
investigation. I can confirm that claims have been brought against the
Ministry of Defence in respect of bullying which took place at Whittington
Barracks in 1991-92. As the claims are the subject of litigation I cannot
comment further. Bullying and harassment of any kind will not be tolerated
in the Army and any such allegations will always be thoroughly investigated.
If such allegations are proven, appropriate action will be taken against the
Michael Fabricant says: "Despite a number of allegations having been made,
no constituent of mine has contacted me with any complaint against
Whittington Barracks. I do not think, therefore, that the minister’s reply
is a ‘whitewash’. As a consequence, as far as I am concerned, this matter
is now closed. I hope that relatives of youngsters currently being trained
at the Barracks will be reassured by the minister’s reply.
"In any event, these are serious legal matters. If anyone is or was
abused, they should contact the police and the Ministry of Defence in
writing. I am concerned that justice should be done: not only for anyone
who suffers any attack, but also to the Barracks and the Army Training
Regiment which has a good reputation to maintain."