Ministry says armour for all combat troops likely

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Indy Politics

The Ministry of Defence indicated for the first time yesterday that personal body armour would be issued as standard kit to all combat troops in the wake of the death of Sgt Steven Roberts.

The revelation came after MPs launched an attack on Ministry of Defence (MoD) chiefs, accusing them of being complacent about lost supplies and other failures during the Iraq war.

Sgt Roberts, 33, was shot last March after being ordered to give up his armour because there were insufficient supplies. An MoD report said he would have survived the shooting if he had been wearing protection. His widow, Samantha, said this week that Geoff Hoon, the Secretary of State for Defence, should "consider his position".

The Commons Public Accounts Committee questioned officials yesterday over the National Audit Office report into the war, focusing on its findings of serious failures in some supplies. The report also raised Sgt Roberts' case.

Following questioning by the committee, Sir Kevin Tebbit, the permanent secretary at the MoD, saidtracking of equipment in Iraq had not worked "as well as it should".

Asked whether the armed forces would issue enhanced body armour as standard, Sir Kevin said: "My expectation is that [the Chiefs of Staff] will move in that direction."