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UK Armed Forces: Wales’s Contribution

Part of Special Educational Needs: Isle of Wight – in Westminster Hall at 4:59 pm on 25th February 2020.

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Photo of Stephen Crabb Stephen Crabb Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee, Chair, Welsh Affairs Committee 4:59 pm, 25th February 2020

I thank the hon. Lady for that intervention. I do not want to overstate the point, but it needs to be made in the context of the social mobility that the armed forces provide for many young people. We want opportunities to provide a pathway right to the top of the organisation, and we are not seeing that at the moment.

Finally, as a trailer, my debate in this place tomorrow relates to the base in my constituency, Cawdor barracks, which has been home to the 14th Signal Regiment for more than 15 years. The Minister knows the argument that I will make tomorrow, but I want to flag that, as well as agreeing with the points made about relocating a historical Welsh regiment back to Wales, we already have a base in far-west Wales, in Pembrokeshire, that provides a home to a very important part of the armed forces. The 14th Signal Regiment has unique capabilities in the field of electronic warfare. Because of those capabilities and the kind of work it does, it was used heavily in Operation Telic and other operations that we do not hear about in the media. The soldiers and their families love being in Pembrokeshire. I will say more about that tomorrow.

It is important to maintain the military footprint across Wales. We use that phrase, but it must be meaningful, and we make it meaningful by keeping people and infrastructure in places that might not be convenient to the senior echelons of the armed forces but that, nevertheless, maintain historical roots and connections with local communities.