On 31st August, the Rt Hon Grant Shapps, MP for Welwyn Hatfield, was appointed Secretary of State for Defence, replacing Rt Hon Ben Wallace, a former veteran who oversaw the evacuation of Afghanistan.
He has overall responsibility for the business of the Ministry of Defence including strategic operations and defence planning, resource allocation, strategic international partnerships, such as with NATO, and nuclear operations.
Whilst he does not have an Armed Forces background, he has significant front bench experience having served previously as Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero since February 2023. He has held Cabinet positions in the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Department, the Home Office, and the Department for Transport. He was a Minster of State in the Department for International Development in 2015.
Commenting on the appointment, a Help for Heroes spokesperson said:
“We welcome the appointment of the new Defence Secretary and hope he will be as dedicated to supporting the Armed Forces community, including veterans, as his predecessor was.
We will be writing to the new Secretary of State urging him to place the needs of veterans at the heart of Ministry of Defence policy. His top priorities must be addressing the gaps in support around the medical discharge process, establishing a compensation scheme for LGBT+ veterans who were wrongfully discharged from the Armed Forces, and improving care for seriously injured veterans.
We also continue to call on the Government to provide greater support to our Afghan comrades who served alongside British forces, as well as remove the barriers to compensation and benefits which currently deny many qualified veterans from receiving payments they are entitled to."