Ex-Veterans Minister hits out at Keir Starmer after dropping dedicated post in Cabinet

8 July 2024, 17:55

The former Veterans Minister has hit out at Keir Starmer
The former Veterans Minister has hit out at Keir Starmer. Picture: Alamy
Natasha Clark

By Natasha Clark

The former Veterans Minister has hit out at Keir Starmer for dropping a dedicated Cabinet minister from his new top team.

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Johnny Mercer, who lost his seat at last week’s election, told LBC the new PM had lied about his vow to keep the post if he won the election.

The Labour boss had promised to keep a dedicated post in Cabinet, but today it was revealed that veterans would be represented by the Defence Secretary, John Healey, instead, around the top table.

Sir Keir has insisted he can be trusted over the nation’s defences and that the party has changed since the day of Jeremy Corbyn.

He put 14 former servicemen and women forward to be candidates to become MPs at the election, and vowed that defence and security of the country would be his number one priority in office.

But No10 confirmed this afternoon: “The Defence Secretary will represent veterans at Cabinet.”

It’s expected that a junior minister will get the brief instead.

Read more: Labour has inherited ‘worst set of circumstances since second world war,’ says Rachel Reeves

Read more: Yvette Cooper launches audit of "complete con" Rwanda scheme in bid to 'get money back'

D-Day veterans leave following the UK national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary
D-Day veterans leave following the UK national commemorative event for the 80th anniversary. Picture: Alamy

Mr Mercer, who served twice in the Cabinet at Veterans Minister under Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak, and served in Iraq and Afghanistan, told LBC: “A straightforward lie from Starmer - he explicitly confirmed he would - twice - in the campaign.

“I hope those 14 ex-service personnel he made a promise in front of when he paraded them during the campaign, now see themselves for the opportunistic puppets they have are.

“It won’t be long before he’s arresting Northern Ireland veterans again. Perhaps some of the ex-military Labour MP’s can go and warn them off. Give them a bit of notice this time.”

The job was intended to improve the lives of veterans once they leave the forces – including with accommodation, to help them find jobs, and get them extra help and support if they need it.

But Labour’s candidate for Plymouth Moor View, Fred Thomas let slip in the campaign there wouldn’t be.

He said at a hustings: “No, because it hasn’t helped veterans very much.

“There’s no single issue, it’s the fact that we’re having to pay more. It’s the fact that people can’t get jobs. It’s the fact the economy has tanked.”

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