Labour MP Stephen Doughty Secures Debate on Remembrance

On Tuesday 8th November, Stephen Doughty MP has secured a three hour Commons debate on the subject of “Rethink Remembrance” – the theme of this year’s 2016 Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal. The debate aims to raise awareness of the sacrifices made not just by the Armed Forces of the past, but by today’s generation too.

Whilst for many people, Remembrance is associated with the fallen of the First and Second World Wars – and of course we will always remember – the Legion wants to raise awareness of a new generation of veterans and Service personnel that need our support.calais-debate

The debate will be held in the House of Commons Chamber on Tuesday 8th November under the motion that ‘this House has considered raising awareness of a new generation of veterans and Service personnel’.

The application for the debate received more than forty signatures from all sides of the House.

Stephen said: “I am delighted to have secured this cross party debate on raising awareness of a new generation of veterans and Service personnel for next Tuesday.

“I have been deeply moved by this year’s Royal British Legion campaign, which challenges us to rethink the image we have of veterans.

“Whilst we will never forget the sacrifices made by those who served in both World Wars, almost 12,000 British service personnel have died in conflicts since then, with countless more injured or living with life changing physical and mental health conditions”

“I am glad we will have the opportunity to raise awareness in Parliament of issues affecting veterans of more recent conflicts, and challenge others to rethink remembrance.”

Shadow Minister for the Armed Forces Meets Veterans in Plymouth


Shadow Minister for the Armed Forces Toby Perkins MP met with Armed Forces Veterans from the Frontline Veterans Support group during a visit to Plymouth last week.

The group raised concerns over lack of Government funding for veteran support services and called for more joined up thinking between Government, Local Government and local organisations.

Toby Perkins MP said,

“Whilst some veterans require specialist support, a number of the issues veterans face are shared more widely with other vulnerable people in society. These include lack of access to mental health support, problems with housing and the bedroom tax.

The reality is that if we fail to intervene early in the rehabilitation of veterans we risk putting further pressures on an NHS which is already at stretched to breaking point.

“Aside from this, let’s remember that our armed forces put their lives on the line for this country. Whatever their situation when they leave the forces we owe our veterans a debt of gratitude. At the very least, one way in which we can repay that debt is to give our veterans the support they need.”IMG_1536

Join us at Labour Party Conference

Labour Friends of the Forces Reception at Party Conference
Sunday 27th September from 5-6:30pm at the Sandringham Room of the Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel
Our servicemen and women, and our veterans, are the very best of Britain. I am proud that they are joining Labour in growing numbers and that they are helping to shape our future policies, with many standing as candidates in the General Election in May.

We’re planning a big presence at this year’s Party Conference and I would be delighted if you could join us, Labour’s Shadow Defence Ministers and guest speakers at a reception to celebrate our Armed Forces, past and present, and their families.

The event will be held on Sunday 27th September from 5pm at the Sandringham Room of the Hilton Brighton Metropole Hotel.

At the reception we’ll be looking for ideas to grow the organisation and formalise it with an AGM in coming months. It’d be great to hear your views and discuss how we can take LFOF forward.

Please let me office know if you wish to attend by emailing

Unable to make the reception? Join us throughout the conference at our stall (Stand 68), why not bring along a plus 1 to sign up?

Vernon Coaker commenting on the Intelligence and Security Committee Announcement

Vernon Coaker, the Shadow Defence Secretary, commenting on the Intelligence and Security Committee announcement:

“I am pleased to see the Government have responded to our call and will set up the Intelligence and Security Committee today in the House of Commons.

“It will be able to scrutinise the decision-making process, the intelligence that led to the anti-terrorist action in Syria. It is vital that the Government’s actions are scrutinised independently so that they command public support.”

Strategic Defence and Security Review Submissions

The MoD recently invited suggestions for the Strategic Defence and Security Review however submissions were to be no longer than 1,500 characters, or around 200-300 words.

Former senior officers and academics have accused the Government of insulting defence experts by asking for their suggestions but limiting them to just a few hundred words.

Vernon Coaker, the Shadow Defence Secretary, said the Government’s “entire approach to the SDSR is wrong”. 

He said: “They promised an open process but instead have delivered a sham consultation where submissions can be no longer than 300 words. The MoD’s methodology is an insult to the wider defence community whose expertise should form the foundation of the Government’s review. The 2010 SDSR did not survive contact with reality and all the signs are that the Government will repeat the mistakes they made five years ago, leading to a further decline in Britain’s global influence.” 

Following pressure from Vernon Coaker and Defence Synergia, the website for submissions has recently been updated and no longer has a word limit. Here is the link to the consultation should you wish to be involved: SDSR & NSS Submission.

Vernon Coaker responding to conclusion of inquest into SAS deaths

Vernon Coaker MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, responding to the conclusion of the inquest into the deaths of three Army reservists on an SAS test march in 2013, said:

“The Coroner’s conclusion that neglect played a part in the deaths of Lance Corporal Edward Maher, Lance Corporal Craig Roberts and Corporal James Dunsby, who were taking part in a SAS test march in 2013, raises serious concerns about the effectiveness of Ministry of Defence procedures and their application on such exercises.

“The Coroner states that she does not believe that the MoD has a proper plan and guidance to deal with heat-related illness. This is unacceptable and a full review of how such exercises are organised needs to carried out immediately.

“Those who seek to meet the incredibly high standard set by our Special Forces are naturally driven and, in many cases, unwilling to countenance failure. The Coroner’s conclusion that had organisers strictly followed the MoD code of practice, the march should have been cancelled – following the withdrawal of two men from the exercise due to heat sickness – shows how important it is that MoD procedures for such exercises are overhauled without delay.

“The deaths of these three Army Reservists were a tragedy that should have been avoided. The Ministry of Defence needs to ensure that its guidance and their application addresses the concerns raised by the Coroner in this case straightaway.”

Labour Sets Out Position On Further Action Against ISIL

Yesterday afternoon the House of Commons debated the issue of ‘Britain and International Security’. The debate had been in place for a number of weeks and was planned prior to the recent and tragic events in Tunisia however with these developments much of the debate focused on ISIL.

You can read the full transcript of the debate here: Yesterday’s Debate

Harriet Harman, Labour’s Interim Leader, and Vernon Coaker, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, set out Labour’s position on further action against ISIL.

Harriet Harman MP, Labour’s Interim Leader, speaking on ITV News, said:

“ISIL brutalise people, they murder people and they are horrifically oppressive. So everything that can be done to stop them must be done, and any proposals that the Government bring forward which will help tackle the growing horror of ISIL, of course we will look at them very very seriously.”

Vernon Coaker MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, in the debate on Britain and International Security in the House of Commons today, said:


“This has to be the time when the democratic nations of the world come together with those battling this threat wherever it occurs. Terrorism cannot be allowed to succeed and the terrorists have to know that our will to defeat them remains undiminished.

“Mr Speaker, let me respond directly to the comments of the Secretary of State regarding the possibility of further action against ISIL.

“We are all horrified by what has happened in Tunisia and by the growing threat that ISIL poses.

“We must tackle this threat to our citizens both at home and abroad.

“So we stand ready to work with the Government to defeat ISIL and will carefully consider any proposals that the Government decide to bring forward.

“We all need to be clear about what difference any action would make to our objective of defeating ISIL, about the nature of any action, its objectives and the legal basis.

“Any potential action must command the support of other nations in the region, including Iraq and the coalition already taking action in Syria.

“This is a time for a considered assessment of the best course of action we can take to defeat this deadly threat to the UK, an objective that unites us all.”