Sunday, July 21, 2024

Alistair Carns MP has been appointed Minister for Veterans and People in the new Labour Government. This follows criticism by former minister Johnny Mercer of the PM's failure to appoint a dedicated Veterans Minister attending Cabinet, and 'disappointment' on the part of help for Heroes.

Ministerial responsibility for veterans changed a number of times under the Conservatives. Mr Mercer himself had been Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence People and Veterans from July 2019 to April 2021. After a period out of ministerial office, in July 2022, he was appointed Minister for Veterans’ Affairs at the Cabinet Office – attending Cabinet although not a Cabinet Minister - was dismissed by Liz Truss in September 2022 - and was appointed Minister of State for Veterans' Affairs by Rishi Sunak in October 2022, again in the Cabinet Office and attending Cabinet.

The new Minister's appointment therefore brings the Veterans portfolio back firmly within Defence, under the same junior Minister as Defence People, and without direct access to Cabinet, with Defence Secretary John Healey MP treating the top table as his own responsibility.

Alistair Carns joined as a Marine in 2000 and was commissioned RM in 2002, leaving as a full Colonel only a few weeks ago to stand in the General Election. He was awarded the MC and a mention in dispatches for his service in Afghanistan, and was appointed OBE in 2022. As a brand new Member of Parliament he has taken on a very challenging and diverse ministerial portfolio.

Shadow Minister for Veterans

Andrew Bowie MP has been appointed Shadow Minister for Veterans. He served as a junior officer in the Royal Navy, first entered Parliament in 2017 and served as a Minister in the previous Conservative government.

Mr Carns and Mr Bowie are both originally from North East Scotland.

List of Defence Ministers

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