Families of Commonwealth Soldiers

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:43 pm on 5th March 2019.

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Photo of Drew Hendry Drew Hendry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 7:43 pm, 5th March 2019

I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to raise this issue. Let me begin by paying tribute to all the men and women who serve in our armed forces. They put their lives on the line to protect ours, and those of millions of people around the world.

My constituency is home to Fort George, the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, and 500 soldiers. To them, and each and every one of the others, we owe a debt of gratitude for their service. That, of course, includes more than 6,000 men and women serving in the armed forces from foreign and Commonwealth countries, a number that is set to increase as the Army embarks on yet more recruitment campaigns across the Commonwealth.

In response to Nick Smith, the Defence Secretary has said:

“We expect up to 1,350 Commonwealth citizens to join our armed forces next year.”—[Official Report, 26 November 2018;
Vol. 650, c. 3.]

Like any other soldiers, sailors and aircrew, they will put their lives on the line in our service, and they will do so under the direction of this Government’s Ministry of Defence. Reflected in their service is the sacrifice also made by their families, who will find themselves affected. They are sometimes uprooted, and often left with the anxiety of knowing that their loved ones are doing a difficult and dangerous job.