Every fortnight Kevin writes a "Kev's Column" for the Herald Express and you can read the latest edition (Published on Wednesday 17th January 2024) below:
Last week the RAF was in action over Yemen as part of a series of air strikes by the USA and UK against Houthi rebels, with non-operational support from the Netherlands, Canada and Bahrain.
This military action followed attacks by the Houthis on shipping, including Royal Navy and US Navy ships, using the international sea lanes in the Bab-el-Mandeb (These lead to\from the Suez Canal). The Prime Minister using the Royal Prerogative to authorise the action being taken, briefing opposition leaders and the Speaker of the House of Commons beforehand.
Before the strikes, clear warnings had been given to the Houthis about the consequences of continuing to fire on ships using the international sea lane which passes Yemen, plus any further attempts at piracy. For our words to mean anything, action must follow when such warnings are ignored, with the air strikes targeting military targets such as munition depots and missile launch systems.
Given the threat to civilian shipping in a key international sea lane, deliberate attacks on Royal Navy and US Navy warships and the clear intention to commit further attacks, I support the Prime Minister and President Biden in taking action to strike against Houthi military targets in response.
Post Office Scandal
Many were moved by the ITV Drama Mr Bates v The Post Office, and last week the Post Office Scandal was the subject of a Government statement, an Urgent Question and was the first item raised at Prime Minister’s Questions, as Parliament returned after Christmas.
There has also been recognition of work by several parliamentarians, including Conservative James Arbuthnot and Labour’s Kevan Jones who both championed the sub-postmasters’ cause a decade ago. Meanwhile, former Post Office CEO Paula Vennels was shamed into handing back her CBE and former Postal Services Minister Ed Davey faced calls to do the same with his Knighthood.
The most significant announcement is the Government will take the virtually unprecedented step of introducing primary legislation to grant a blanket exoneration. This will overturn hundreds of convictions, brought about by erroneous Horizon evidence, clearing the names of innocent people who have had their lives ruined.
Just before Parliament went into recess for Christmas, The Post Office (Horizon System) Compensation Bill, cleared the House of Commons on Tuesday 19th December, after a full day’s debate on it. Few could have realised then how prominent an issue this would be when Parliament returned, but the latest announcements are welcome. There was also a sense of justice that as many innocent people caught up in this scandal heard they would have their name cleared, those who accused them were facing difficult questions at the ongoing public inquiry into the scandal.
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