Northern Ireland

DUP call for military law clarity

Image caption Jeffrey Donaldson wants the military covenant to become law

The DUP have called on the government to put into law its obligations to the military.

Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson said he wanted the prime minister to clarify the government's position on the military covenant.

The covenant details the government's obligations to the military is a convention rather than a law.

The issue was raised by the DUP during a special debate on the armed forces in the House of Commons.

In response the Defence Secretary Liam Fox confirmed that a covenant that would cover the three armed services is being drafted.

'Do more'

He said the government would not enshrine the military covenant in law, but instead the defence secretary would report annually to Parliament on how the covenant was working.

However the Shadow defence minister Kevan Jones said the previous Labour administration was planning to enshrine the covenant in law.

The Labour MP also urged the government to rethink its decision not to put the military covenant into law.

During the debate the Lagan Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson called on the government to do more to help servicemen and women and veterans.

He told MPs: "What we want to do here is ensure that the armed forces personnel, that the veterans and their families, are provided with the care and support that they need.

The North Antrim MP Ian Paisley also raised the difficulties former service personnel face when finding housing.

He wanted to know if more could be done to help ex-members of the armed forces get access to public housing.

The Dr Fox said he would raise the issue with MPs from Northern Ireland.

Dr Fox admitted accommodation was one of the greatest issues troubling service families and said the government would "dearly like to do more".