Penny Mordaunt – 2019 Statement on Inappropriate Behaviour in the Armed Forces

Below is the text of the statement made by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for Defence, in the House of Commons on 15 July 2019.

In April of this year a report was commissioned to look into inappropriate behaviour in the armed forces. Our armed forces are the pride of our nation, and have a hard-won reputation here, and across the world.

The report which was undertaken by Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, concluded that while the vast majority of military personnel serve with great honour and distinction, some unacceptable behaviour does occur. I am publishing the report today.

I am accepting the recommendations of the report in full, including creating a defence authority to provide centralised oversight of their implementation. Detailed work on the design of this body and its responsibilities is now under way.

We are examining the recommendations and ascertaining how we can prevent inappropriate behaviour in the first place, and where it does occur, deal with the perpetrators more effectively. Leadership is key to this approach at all levels of the services from the most senior to the most junior. Everyone has a role to play in setting and maintaining standards. Non-Commissioned Officers in particular are key in holding people to these standards and the values of their service. I am therefore, in addition to the findings of this report, looking to ensure all Non-Commissioned Officers have what they need to address poor behaviour when they see it.

This will clearly take time, and I see today as the start of this work, not the end.