Stop MoD payouts appeal, says Minister's aide

An aide to Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth today urged him to drop his appeal against compensation awards to two injured servicemen.

Labour MP Eric Joyce said that while the Ministry of Defence stood a good chance of winning its court challenge, success would amount to "a victory for bureaucracy over bravery".

His comments came as the former chief of the British Army, General Sir Mike Jackson, branded the MoD's attempt to reduce the compensation award "virtually incredible.

Gen Jackson called for a review of the compensation system for injured troops to be transferred from the MoD to an independent body in order to restore public confidence.

The MoD last week went to the High Court to challenge tribunal rulings which increased the payouts to two soldiers who developed medical complications after treatment for their initial injuries.

Marine Matthew McWilliams broke a leg on a training exercise, and saw his payment increased from £8,250 to £28,750 to recognise problems which developed after his initial treatment.

And Corporal Anthony Duncan, of the Light Dragoons, was shot in the leg by a high-velocity round in Iraq in 2005 and won an increase in compensation from £9,250 to £46,000 after complications from surgery.

Mr Ainsworth said that action to challenge the tribunal decisions was necessary to protect the principle that those with the worst injuries should receive the largest payouts.

But he agreed to bring forward an internal MoD review of how the compensation system operates.

Judges are expected to deliver their decision in October.

Mr Joyce, a former Black Watch soldier who now serves as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Mr Ainsworth, told the Daily Telegraph that the Government should not take "a penny" from the two servicemen.

"A victory for the MoD in October at the Court of Appeal would represent a victory for bureaucracy over bravery," he told the paper.

"The appeal should be dropped."

He warned that the public would not respond well to the legal action, regardless of the merits of the MoD's case.

He said the public gives politicians "a lot of rope", but added "Where we get the moral call profoundly wrong on a matter of how we treat our astonishingly brave service personnel, we'll find ourselves dangling at the end of it."

Gen Jackson, the former Chief of General Staff, today attacked the decision to take legal action over the compensation issue and accused the MoD of a "penny-pinching" approach to the issue.

"I very much hope common sense and a proper regard to the soldiers, not this penny-pinching attitude, will prevail," he told Sky News' Sunday Live.

He warned that the planned MoD review of compensation would lack public confidence because it would have the Treasury "looking over its shoulder".

"This is going to be an in-house MoD review with the Treasury looking over their shoulder," he said.

"I think for the public confidence it would be much better done by an independent body."

Defence minister Bill Rammell told Sky News: "I defy anyone to say that we haven't been focused on delivering the most adequate compensation to our service personnel.

"We doubled the maximum compensation last year. These are not the actions of a Government that is prepared to neglect its armed forces."

He added: "The reason we appealed the decision of the tribunal is that it would have fundamentally breached the crucial principle that the most compensation should go to those most seriously injured.

"Had we not launched that appeal, I believe that the tribunal ruling, if it were allowed to stand, would be an injustice and would be unfair to those most seriously injured."

Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said the Conservatives would await the results of the review before judging whether to accept its findings.

"We have to do what is right for those who are willing to risk life and limb for the country," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Google celebrates the 126th anniversary of the Eiffel Tower opening its doors to the public for the first time
techGoogle celebrates Paris's iconic landmark, which opened to the public 126 years ago today
News
Cleopatra the tortoise suffers from a painful disease that causes her shell to disintegrate; her new prosthetic one has been custom-made for her using 3D printing technology
newsCleopatra had been suffering from 'pyramiding'
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Coachella and Lollapalooza festivals have both listed the selfie stick devices as “prohibited items”
music
Sport
Nigel Owens was targeted on Twitter because of his sexuality during the Six Nations finale between England and France earlier this month
rugbyReferee Nigel Owens on coming out, and homophobic Twitter abuse
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin visits her 1990s work ‘My Bed’ at Tate Britain in London, where it is back on display from today
artsBut how does the iconic work stand up, 16 years on?
Life and Style
life + style
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Web Designer / Front End Developer

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast expanding web managem...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor