Our Armed Forces are the best in the world. They are institutions with a deep and rich history, vital to understanding the character and traditions of the United Kingdom. At the same time they are still the first line of defence in the most important mission any state has, to protect its people.
Threats are changing all the time and often UK Armed Forces are at the very cutting edge of meeting and eliminating those threats. We ask a lot of them, and they deserve our support.
I have been doing my best to learn about the operation of these vital services so that I am better informed when it comes to making decisions on defence issues. This has been primarily through participation in the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, which has seen me paired up with the RAF. This experience has been illuminating and has only reinforced my absolute respect for our men and women in uniform.
Of course, the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin has focussed in all our minds the importance of our national defence. At this time, more than any other since the end of the Cold War, the threat of violent conflict is worryingly close to home. The work that we are doing to support the Ukrainian people, the speed with which we took action, and our willingness to supply defensive weapons where others were not, are sources of great pride to the United Kingdom.
I will be doing what I can to show support and appreciation for our service personnel, serving in the UK and overseas, whether involved in armed conflict, training allied forces, or undertaking humanitarian work.