Today I spoke in the Armed Forces Bill. Every five years, Parliament renews this bill - as a standing army may only be maintained with the leave of Parliament. An ancient constitutional custom, but a chance to underline my support for the Military Covenant.
Here are some of the highlights of my speech:
"I represent Dover and Deal, which today still feels like they are at the front line of the nation in its dealings with the continent, not all of which have been happy in the past. Not so long ago, in the second world war, we were the front line and responsible for helping ensure the success of Dunkirk. Before that, in the 18th century, the channel fleet was stationed off the coast of Deal and we retain a strong link with the Royal Marines. I was privileged to be at the installation of the captain general of the Royal Marines as the captain of Deal castle. We also have the lord warden of the cinque ports in Walmer castle, Admiral Boyce, and a brigadier in Dover castle.
The constituency feels strongly about the military covenant. It has a strong cadet movement. It is a privilege for me to be the honorary president of the Deal Air Training Corps, 2235 squadron. It is a considerable privilege for us to have so many Gurkhas living in Dover and Deal, who go on active service and do great things for our nation. I am therefore proud of what our constituency has achieved in the service of this nation and of our military links. The constituency takes a strong and passionate view of the military covenant.
As someone who deeply respects all those who put their bodies and minds in danger on our behalf, I want to stress how pleased I am that we are finally putting the military covenant on to a statutory footing in clause 2. It is absolutely right that the Bill will give the military covenant the increased recognition that it should have had long ago. By enacting the measure, we will give legislative force to the "Army Doctrine Publication", particularly chapter 1.
However, it is not a no-cost option to back the military covenant in statute. With it comes responsibility, which, in recent years, has been lacking. We must ensure that service personnel and their families are properly cared for, not only in health but when they are hurt, particularly when that hurt happens on active service. What has been going on is not good enough. However, each small measure brings us closer to what we mean by the term "military covenant"."
It has been an honour and privilege to serve as Member of Parliament for Dover & Deal. I hope to be re-elected to serve our community for another term.
Many of my appearances in the House of Commons are now on Youtube. Please click the link to watch the footage.
Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or ring my office on 01304 379669 if you need to get in touch.