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Johnny Mercer Criticises “Tokenistic” Approach To Veteran Care
21 December 2018, 12:45
A Conservative MP and former British Army officer has slammed successive governments for their "tokenistic" approach to caring for British veterans.
Johnny Mercer served three tours in Afghanistan before retiring from military service in 2013 and opting for a career in politics.
The MP for Plymouth Moor View sat down with LBC and told us that he thinks the UK lacks a central department to support veterans.
When asked by Theo Usherwood, LBC's Political editor, as to where he thought the issue originated from in the government with regard to helping veterans, Mr Mercer said that he thought the government had a very "different view" of veterans.
The Tory MP explained that the UK is the only "Five Eyes" country which doesn't have a Department for Veterans Affair, nor an individual with executive authority to make government departments work for veterans.
Mr Mercer said the UK needed someone to "take responsibility, pull together all the functions of government, and make sure that we deliver a professional standard of veterans care".
The former soldier said that some priorities for improving lives should be helping veterans find jobs and also housing, which are not MOD responsibilities.
"The trouble is in this country - we talk a good game when it comes to veterans...but there is such a big gap between what we say and what we do", he expressed.
Mr Mercer even went as far as to say that veterans care had been "tokenistic" in the UK for far too long, under governments of "all colours", including the Conservatives.
"If the Prime Minister wanted to create a Department for Veterans' Affairs or something which was really going to grip this problem, she would do it, but she chooses not to and I have to respect that for the timebeing", he said.