#Hello Plymouth – The Royal Marines are the greatest fighting force in the world, and since being elected I have spoken up for the Royal Marines on a range of issues. I’m really excited now to be taking up a new role as the Vice-Chairman of the All Party Armed Forces Group with responsibility for the Royal Marines.
The All Party Armed Forces Group is the home of debate on defence in Parliament. It is a cross-party group of Parliamentarians with an interest in defence, be it from an equipment, personnel, veterans, basing or supply chain. My appointment as Vice-Chair for the Royal Marines means I will now chair discussions in the APPG when it comes to the Royal Marines and will start with an off the record briefing from the Commandant General of the Royal Marines later this month. The previous office holder, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, is now the new Defence Procurement Minister. I wish her best in her new role.
The defence of the nation is the Government’s most important responsibility and as the MP for Devonport I am determined to speak up for the Royal Marines and the Royal Navy and that is what I have been doing since being elected in 2017. Today, for example, I raised concerns in the Commons again about the 13 old retired nuclear submarines tied up in Devonport – these issues matter even if they don’t always trouble the headline writers of our national newspapers.
Stonehouse Barracks in Plymouth is the spiritual home of the Royal Marines and I am proud to represent the Royal Marines family as Stonehouse’s MP. In my two years as your MP I have been vocal about the Royal Marines and in my new role I’ll be continuing to push to get the Royal Marines the resources, the basing and the role they deserve in the future. I’m really quite excited about the opportunities ahead for the Royal Marines.
I’m proud to come from a defence family with my old man serving as a Devonport-based submariner. But instead of signing up after I left school, I went down a different path. So, to make sure that I could represent the fighting forces we have as a city in 2018, I joined the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme just after I was elected. It allows Members of Parliament to gain an insight into daily military life by spending 15 days a year with the armed forces. Last year I spent nearly double that with the Royal Navy and this year I’ve transferred to the Royal Air Force. Defence matters to Plymouth and it matters to me.
The next few years will be a really interesting time for the Royal Marines with the publication of future basing arrangements for the Royal Marines at Stonehouse Barracks, the publication of the 2020 Strategic Defence and Security Review and the publication and scrutiny of the Future Commando Force strategy for the Royal Marines and our amphibious forces. I take these issues seriously and this new role will give me a chance to get even more involved in the debate about the future of the Royal Marines.
Thank you to all the veterans and serving personnel who have given up so much time to help me learn more about the forces since being elected.