Committee stage of Armed Forces Bill

15 June 2011

The House of Commons considered the Armed Forces Bill in Committee of the whole House on Tuesday 14 June.

MPs considered New Clauses and Amendments to the Bill during the committee stage. Watch and read the views expressed by MPs on Parliament TV and in Commons Hansard.

Armed Forces Bill

The Bill received second reading on Monday 10 January 2011 and was then considered by the Select Committee on the Armed Forces Bill.

Why is an Armed Forces Bill required?

An Armed Forces Bill is required every five years. The Bill provides the legal basis for the Armed Forces and the system of military law in the UK. The last Armed Forces Act received Royal Assent in November 2006 and therefore a new Bill is required before the end of the 2010-2012 Parliamentary Session.

Summary of the Armed Forces Bill

The Bill provides the legal basis for the system of military law which exists in the UK, and an opportunity to make any suggested or necessary amendments. It also presents an opportunity to introduce new measures relating to the Armed Forces outside the traditional sphere of Service discipline.

  • Renews the 2006 Armed Forces Act for a further five years
  • Makes provision for the Secretary of State to make an annual report to Parliament on the military covenant
  • Extends statutory inspections by her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary to the Service police and makes further provision for the independence of Service police investigations from the chain of command. The Bill will also improve procedures for maintaining standards within the MOD Police
  • Confers new powers on judge advocates to authorise entry and search of certain premises; and on the Secretary of State to make provision for Service police to access special categories of material such as bank records
  • Develops the procedures for the redress of complaints by Service personnel
  • Introduces a bespoke military scheme for the testing of Service personnel for alcohol and drugs, in line with the provisions of the Railways and Transport Safety Act 2003, from which the military is exempt
  • Extends the jurisdiction of the new courts and procedures, which were established in the Armed Forces Act 2006, to prisoners of war.

Keep up to date with all the proceedings and latest documentation on the Armed Forces Bill.  Also find out how a Bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

Committee of the whole House

When a Bill passes its second reading and is considered in detail, this usually takes place in a Public Bill Committee or a Select Committee held outside the Chamber and made up of between 16 and 20 MPs.

Occasionally a Bill will be considered by a Committee of the whole House and this discussion takes place in the Commons Chamber itself, where all MPs can take part.

Any Bill can be referred to a Committee of the whole House, but the procedure is normally reserved for finance bills and other important or controversial legislation.

Image: PA

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