§ Mr. Thomas Cox
asked the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance is given to commanding officers on the circumstances in which proceedings for courts martial should be instituted against members of the Armed 204W Forces alleged to have committed homosexual offences under the Armed Forces discipline Acts; in what circumstances it is his policy that these should be dealt with by administrative discharge; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Wiggin
Guidance is available to commanding officers in the form of administrative instructions which define the procedures for dealing with cases either by disciplinary or administrative action. Each case is considered individually and commanding officers have recently been reminded of the flexibility they have in the handling of such cases. However, homosexual acts by members of the Armed Forces remain illegal, and we continue to regard them as prejudicial to military discipline. This issue was considered by Parliament during the progress of the Armed Forces Act 1981 and both the Select Committee and subsequently the House as a whole decided against a change in the Service discipline Acts.