Debates between Jack Lopresti and James Heappey during the 2019 Parliament

Tue 20th April 2021
3 interactions (180 words)

UK Military Personnel Serving Overseas: Vaccination

Debate between Jack Lopresti and James Heappey
Wednesday 23rd June 2021

(4 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber

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Ministry of Defence
James Heappey Portrait James Heappey
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I echo the hon. Member’s thanks to all those military personnel who have been involved not just in the vaccine taskforce, but in all other parts of the response to the covid pandemic, particularly those in her constituency. Clearly, decisions such as this are initially decisions for policy makers in Government. I think that I have been very clear about our willingness as a ministerial team to own the decision that we took; I think it was the right one. I know that the chain of command have every confidence that the vaccination programme that we have set ourselves to deliver is indeed delivering. There were no conversations beyond that with any of the agencies or organisations that she mentioned.

Jack Lopresti Portrait Jack Lopresti (Filton and Bradley Stoke) (Con)
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My hon. Friend will be aware that there are a good number of British troops deployed in the Kurdish region in northern Iraq, training the peshmerga in their ongoing military fight with Daesh, and we know that Daesh seeks to capitalise on some of the chaos of the pandemic to make advances. I understand that our deployment in Iraq will be growing slightly over the next year, so will my hon. Friend assure me that anybody deployed there will be fully vaccinated, and that the troops who are training and who are still engaged in military operations have equal access to the vaccine?

James Heappey Portrait James Heappey
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I can reassure my hon. Friend that 96% of people currently serving on Op Shader—that will include those who are based in Cyprus as part of the aircrew—have been vaccinated, and 31% have had their second dose. I can assure him that they will receive their second doses as soon as it is medically advisable for them to do so. I cannot, however, tell him that it is policy to vaccinate the troops with whom they are partnering.

Afghanistan

Debate between Jack Lopresti and James Heappey
Tuesday 20th April 2021

(6 months, 1 week ago)

Commons Chamber

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Ministry of Defence
James Heappey Portrait James Heappey
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I hope that the hon. Lady will have taken some reassurance from my earlier answers on the work of the Defence Secretary and the Home Secretary. I am sure that they will come forward with an answer imminently.

Jack Lopresti Portrait Jack Lopresti (Filton and Bradley Stoke) (Con)
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Will my hon. Friend join me in paying tribute to the locally employed civilians throughout Afghanistan, who were a vital help during our deployments? Colleagues have asked questions about interpreters and their safety, and I was pleased by his answer that, during the drawdown, people who had helped our forces will not be abandoned. However, once we have left, will he give us some assurance that all the many hundreds of locally employed civilians and the interpreters—the people who have risked their lives, their family’s lives and their safety—will not be abandoned?

James Heappey Portrait James Heappey
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I refer my hon. Friend to my previous answer. I have seen with my own eyes just how integral those locally employed civilians were to the success of our mission. We owe them a debt. There is work going on in Government to make sure that that debt is paid.