“A great evening – informative, interesting, friendly and fun. It felt like it was a group who can really move things forward.” –  Councillor Kate Chinn

Many thanks to all those who joined us on the evening of Monday, July 3 at Portcullis House for our first meeting and discussion following #GE2017.

Opened by LFoF chair Toby Perkins MP and addressed by Shadow Defence Secretary Nia Griffith MP, the event showcased a selection of former military and associated candidates, all of whom had dramatically increased the Labour voteshare.

They included former Royal Navy Commodore Gareth Derrick [South East Cornwall], former Army doctor Laura Davies [Shrewsbury and Thatcham], ex-RAF engineer Sophie Cook [East Worthing and Shoreham], former firefighter Gary Puffett [Aldershot] and ex-Royal Signals  officer Sarah Church [South Swindon].

Click here for full biographies.

“Seeing so many of my fellow veterans and supporters sharing their experiences was great,” said Dr Laura Davies. “We can all learn so much from each other. It was clear from the discussion that our troops would be better supported under Labour – and that only Labour can marry a robust defence and security policy with ethical diplomacy.”

Also speaking were LFoF volunteer Peter Apps  who helped coordinate activities during the campaign, newly elected parliamentarian for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport Luke Pollard MP and LFoF patron Dan Jarvis MP.  Shadow defence ministers Wayne David MP and Gareth Jones MP also attended, as did multiple other MPs.

Issues raised by attendees included procurement, party and national strategy, pay and conditions, mental health and other services for veterans and campaigning plans going forward. Discussions continued afterwards in a Whitehall pub.

“The importance of Labour Friends of the Forces was highlighted by the extremely successful meeting,” said Wayne David MP. “It was impressive to hear how a number of candidates with strong links to the Armed Forces had campaigned so effectively on issues which were of direct concern to forces personnel. Our challenge is to make sure that this good work continues and develops.”

LFoF will be holding further events after the summer recess including in the regions and at Conference in Brighton at the end of September. Sign up here for further details.