Led by Truro and Falmouth MP, Cherilyn Mackrory, Cornwall’s MPs worked with Cornwall’s Council Cabinet to secure the opportunity to host this year’s Armed Forces Week. The effort seems like an age ago, but it is finally here! I’m glad that Cornwall has the honour of hosting this event as the British Armed Forces do a brilliant job of managing threats to the UK and our international interests and keeping the peace. We will use the week to commemorate the dedication and sacrifice of our armed forces in the past and appreciate and recognise the continuing service of all those engaged in fending off threat and working for peace. Threats and the tactics needed to maintain peace are ever changing as modern warfare techniques are developed, so I’m hosting a survey to gauge the view of people living across Cornwall and on Scilly regarding UK defence and our support for veterans, Ukraine and the nuclear deterrent.
On Ukraine the UK provided £2.3 billion worth of military support last year – more than any country other than the US – and the Prime Minister has committed to sustain that level of support this year. Do you support this and what more should we do? On Uk defence, spending is increasing to improve the resilience and readiness of UK forces. Last year defence spending was approximately 6% of public funds and I’m interested in how you feel defence funds should be spent. I voted in favour of spending on our four Vanguard-class ballistic missile submarines (SSBN) which house the Trident II D5A missile and its Mk4/ Holbrook warhead. Approximately 6% of the annual defence budget is spent on maintaining the UK nuclear deterrent. Do you agree? On Saturday I joined about 70 others at the Helston Veterans Breakfast, and I was reminded of the debt of gratitude we owe our serving armed forces and our veterans.
In recent years additional support has been made available in relation to travel, housing, mental health services and the Armed Forces Covenant which is intended to ensure those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly but I’m keen to know what more is needed. This month the Northern Ireland - Legacy and Reconciliation Bill returns to Parliament. The Bill proposes to limit criminal investigations, legal proceedings, inquests and police complaints, extend the prisoner release scheme in the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998, and provide for experiences to be recorded and preserved and for events to be studied and memorialised. The survey asks what protections should be in place for former British armed forces personnel who served during the NI troubles in relation to criminal prosecutions? The survey can be found at derekthomas.org/campaigns/armed-forces-day-June-24th-23
There is so much to see and do this Amed Forces Week, especially over the weekend. Mostly focused in Falmouth, Armed Forces Week is a real opportunity to show our appreciation to all this who serve (past and present) You can find out all there is to know about Armed Forces Week by searching for armedforcesday.Cornwall.gov.Uk