On the 5th May, Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon asked Her Majesty’s Government “what assessment they had made of the treatment of Afghan interpreters seeking to be housed in the United Kingdom.” The Bishop of St Albans, the Rt Revd Alan Smith, asked whether the Government could do more to recognize the value Afghan interpreters have provided for British military efforts.
The Lord Bishop of St Albans: My Lords, does the Minister not recognise that, with this story that is going on, not only do we owe them a debt of honour but what it is going to mean is that, when future conflict is going on, other people will think, “I dare not take the risk”? As well as being the right thing to do, this is actually in our own interests, because we need these people when we go into conflict to help us and co-operate with us. This is a long-term strategy. Could the Minister comment on that, please?
Earl Howe: My Lords, as I have already said, we have recognised a debt and granted the right to apply for UK relocation to around 500 people, plus their families. Those people are those who operated in the most dangerous zones, who were serving with us when we announced draw-down. Some 270 have already relocated to this country. I do not think that that is a shameful record in the very least, and people looking at our scheme and comparing it to those in other countries will find a favourable comparison.