Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Labour 'Friends of the Forces'

There has probably been no time since the Korean War that the Labour Party needs to align itself with the Armed Forces. I write this listening to Prime Ministers question time and as often over the last few years it starts with a tribute to the fallen.

Dan Jarvis MP, Alasdair Ross and Jim Murphy MP - 'Forces can join for £1'

For far too long the Conservatives were seen as the party of the Forces, I for a long time saw this was a myth and if anyone else was in doubt the cuts to our armed forces and the future cuts show that the Tories can no longer describe themselves as the forces friends.

So once I heard that Jim Murphy MP, the shadow defence minister was helping set up the ‘Labour Friends of the Forces’ I quickly volunteered to join and have since become an advocate for the group in the East of England.

Last night I was invited to the shadow Cabinet room at the House of Commons for the official launch of the group. It was an honour to be invited to the launch and to enter this famous building but what was more humbling was meeting some of the other veterans who have joined the group including a number of ex Ghurkha soldiers. One of these brave warriors from Nepal has even become a Labour councillor. If anyone has a doubt that this group is not being taken seriously then you only had to see the number and quality of the Labour MP’s present, all keen to sing the praises of our armed forces and also to offer their support.

Dan Jarvis MP, tell us why he joined the party, with Jim Murphy and Gurkha veterans listening intently

But it was not only MP’s and veterans who were present there were other Labour activists at the event and it was great that both Colchester and Cambridge were represented at the event.

Superb speeches were given by Jim Murphy and also Lord Robertson and Dan Jarvis, ex Par Major and now the MP for Barnsley.

The evening flew by and I managed to have quite a long chat with both Lord Rosser and Gemma Doyle MP, both who work with Jim as members of the shadow defence team. Gemma seems to be an MP with a bright future at Westminster.

So what next? Well as the groups advocate in the East, I want to visit troops, speak to them and their families not just to tell them of our vision for the future of the Armed Forces but also to hear their fears and get their thoughts.

Lord Robertson launches the group

We also want to see those who support our forces to join the group, you do not need to have been a member of the armed forces to join but just someone who is a Labour supporter and has a empathy with the armed forces. Join here.

On top of that members of the armed forces and veterans can join the Labour Party for £1.

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