Steve Brine MP

for Winchester & Chandler's Ford

15 JUL 2015

MP raises raises army deaths with Prime Minister

Winchester MP Steve Brine has raised the death of an army reservist from Winchester with the Prime Minister in the House of Commons.

Lance Corporal Edward Maher died while taking part in an SAS selection exercise on the Brecon Beacons in July 2013 along with colleagues Corporal James Dunsby and Lance Corporal Craig Roberts. An inquest into the tragedy reported on Tuesday 14 July 2015 and identified serious failings in the running of the exercise. The coroner will now make recommendations to the Ministry of Defence (MOD) in order to prevent future deaths.

Speaking at the weekly session of Prime Minister's Question Time (Wednesday 15 July 2015), Mr Brine pointed to initial remarks from the coroner which highlighted "gross failures" and a "catalogue of very serious mistakes" and challenged the Government to act to prevent future similar loss of life.

Addressing MPs, he said; "Obviously nothing can turn the clock back but for these heartbroken families. But would the Prime Minister ensure the army service inquiry that will now follow, does everything it can - while recognising of course, that we continue to train the best armed forces in the world – to bring whatever changes are needed to prevent this ever happening again and see those responsible are held to account?

Responding, Prime Minister David Cameron said the deaths were "absolutely tragic" and expressed his condolences, and those of the whole House of Commons, to the affected families. He said; "I am sure I speak for the whole House and indeed for the whole country when I say that our hearts go out to the families of James Dunsby, Craig Roberts and Edward Maher. Having seen at first hand some of the extraordinary things that our special forces do, the bravery of people who volunteer to join and the training that they do, I know how vital this is, but it is an absolutely tragic case.

"I understand that the Ministry of Defence has accepted the failures identified by the coroner and has apologised for these. I also understand that a number of changes have already been made to this particular exercise. We now need to study the coroner's conclusions very carefully, and make sure that this cannot possibly happen again. I know the Army will also hold its own service inquiry as soon as all the civil investigations have been completed. It is an absolutely tragic case, and we will learn from it."

Steve Brine added; "This has been one of the most upsetting pieces of casework I've encountered in more than five year and it's such a tragic waste of young life. I think it was important today to recognise the service to our country of these men in the House of Commons and I was pleased the Prime Minister was clear lessons will be learnt. Next step is to bring the Minister to Winchester to meet with Lance Corporal Maher's parents and to input as much as possible in the MOD response to the coroner which we expect later this Summer."

Pictured; Steve on his feet in the House of Commons.

More information ...

Read Steve's exchange with David Cameron via Hansard's Official Report

Watch Steve Brine at PMQs from 15 July 2015 via Parliament Live TV

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