§ Dr. Moonie
As a group, Gulf veterans report significantly more ill-health than other comparable groups. A number of possible factors for this have been suggested but peer-reviewed scientific research, confirmed and validated by other researchers, has no identified the cause. Further important research is underway, and the Government is committed to carrying out some such further research. I hope to announce some new areas of research shortly. I would encourage members of the scientific community who have other new ideas to submit proposals for further work to the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC will assess the proposals and recommend to the Ministry of Defence those which it considers to be soundly based and of sufficient scientific merit to justify being taken forward.
§ Mr. Paul Marsden
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will set up a Royal Commission to investigate the causes of Gulf war illnesses; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Dr. Moonie
The Ministry of Defence accepts that some veterans of the 1990–91 Gulf conflict have become ill and that many believe this ill health is unusual and related to their Gulf experience. There is evidence that Gulf veterans report more ill-health than other comparable groups. The Government attach great importance to investigating the causes of this and believe that the best way of doing so is through scientific and medical research. A number of important research projects are currently under way and I hope to announce further work shortly. The Government do not believe that a Royal Commission to investigate the causes of Gulf veterans' illnesses would be helpful at this time.