On Monday 11 January, Kevan spoke in the debate on the remaining stages of the Armed Forces Bill, in support of an amendment removing remaining discriminatory legislation from the statute books.
Kevan said, “Tomorrow will be the 16th anniversary of the Labour Government abolishing the draconian regulations that meant that someone who was gay or bisexual could be dismissed from the armed services, so it is apt that we are agreeing to the amendment today.
It is strange how things work out. I moved similar amendments in Committee and on the Floor of the House. I pay tribute to the Minister, whose approach to the Bill has been constructive, ensuring that practical measures such as this are taken forward. I accepted during earlier stages of the Bill that the measure should apply also to the merchant navy, and I look forward to the Government introducing legislation to mirror this provisions for the merchant navy.
I join the Minister in paying tribute to Professor Paul Johnson, professor of sociology at York University, who not only gave evidence to the Committee but in my conversations with him assisted me and ensured that I understood that the legislation currently on the statute books was discriminatory. As the Minister rightly said, it means nothing, but for lesbian, gay and bisexual potential members of the armed forces, the measure expunges those provisions from the law. That should celebrated. I wholeheartedly support the new clause, which is a great step forward.”
You can read the full debate here: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm160111/debtext/160111-0002.htm#16011126000117