Armed Forces Day 2012

Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 16th May 2011.

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Photo of Oliver Colvile Oliver Colvile Conservative, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport 2:30 pm, 16th May 2011

When he expects to make a decision on the location of events to mark the 2012 Armed Forces day for the nation.

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

Plans for the national event to mark Armed Forces day 2012 are being considered and a decision will be announced as soon as possible. In the meantime, I look forward to this year’s Armed Forces day on Saturday 25 June, including the national event, which will be hosted by Edinburgh.

Photo of Oliver Colvile Oliver Colvile Conservative, Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport

I thank my right hon. Friend for his reply and for all his care and diligence in deciding on the location. Is he able to share with us the criteria that will be used in making that decision?

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

On the subject of honouring our armed forces, I think that the whole House would wish me to remind everyone that today is Albuhera day—the Middlesex day. Today is the 200th anniversary of the battle of Albuhera, and that explains the naming of Middlesex day. The Middlesex Regiment subsequently became known as the Duke of Cambridge’s Own Regiment, which is particularly fitting this year.

In answer to my hon. Friend’s question about Armed Forces day, I can say that there are no set criteria. However, I have heard at great length his pleas on behalf of Plymouth and I shall certainly bear them in mind.

Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Shadow Minister (Justice) (Political and Constitutional Reform)

May I urge that one criterion might be that the area sends a lot of young men and women into the armed forces? That would enable the Minister, next year or in a future year, to consider using not just the major cities or the major places where people are based, but an area such as the south Wales valleys, which sends a very large number of people into the armed forces—that is, as long as he has not made the wrong decision about 160 Brigade being based in Brecon.

Photo of Andrew Robathan Andrew Robathan The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I have made no decisions about 160 Brigade. Of course the main national event for Armed Forces day was in Cardiff last year. It is the responsibility of local authorities to deal with the infrastructure and the work involved in the Armed Forces day celebrations. If people in the south Wales valleys say that they will arrange a great event there that could be the national focus, I am sure that we would listen to that sympathetically as well.