Michael Fabricant raised two issues in the House of Commons today, 19th July.
At Prime Minister’s Questions, Rishi Sunak apologised on behalf of the State to LGBT individuals who had been expelled from the armed forces solely because of their sexuality. This was then followed up by a statement and debate initiated by the Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace.
Michael Fabricant said to Ben Wallace: “I thank my Rt Hon Friend for coming to the House today, and also for the tone in which he has delivered this statement.
“Two friends of mine; one, a former naval intelligence officer, and the other an NCO in the Army, who had to leave under tragic circumstances, will both be very pleased with the apology that both he and the Prime Minister have given on behalf of the State.
“May I say to my Rt Hon Friend: 25 years ago a Colonel in the Royal Marines said something to me, and I wonder whether he would agree with this? He said: ‘In a firefight, I would rather have a gay Marine alongside me who can shoot straight, than a straight Marine who can’t.’”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace replied: “As a Scots Guard, I better not make a comment on the Royal Marines!
“All I would say, to my first whip when I joined this House: that’s the point! The men and women of our Armed Forces all belong to a common endeavour to keep this country safe, and that was what was forgotten in all those years. What matters is the skill they bring to bear to deal with the enemy, and as he says, I’d much rather everyone shot straight.”
Earlier in the day, I asked the Science Minister about Regional Innovation Clusters in the west midlands.
Michael asked: “We have world class universities in the West Midlands. Can I ask my Rt Hon Friend: what plans does he have in order to support Regional Innovation Clusters there?”
Minister of State for Science, Research and Innovation George Freeman answered: “My Hon Friend makes an important point. We’re investing heavily in Regional Innovation Clusters all round this country; one in Manchester, one in Glasgow and one in the West Midlands, where the excellent Mayor Andy Street is driving a genuine innovation economy.”