I have deep and lasting affection for the Armed Forces - not least because my partner Tim is a serving officer with the British Army. I represent a huge number of constituents across Brecon and Radnorshire who have served or continue to serve in the Armed Forces.
Since my election I actively campaigned against the closure of Brecon Barracks and for a Veterans Commissioner for Wales. I also called on the Government to grant free citizenship to the many foreign born soldiers living and working in the United Kingdom. The Gurkha’s are an incredibly important part of the Brecon community, having served our nation with pride and recognising their service with free citizenship the right thing to do.
The closure of Brecon Barracks, scheduled for 2027, would have been a tragic loss to our community. In addition to its truly historical and social significance, the facility is critical to our national security - something evident during the Covid 19 pandemic, when the Army's joint response was organised from Brecon Barracks.
In September 2020, I joined the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme to learn about the practical experience of serving soldiers. This course, which I carried out in my spare time, helped me understand the sacrifices our military personnel make and the priorities and structure of the Ministry of Defence. In January 2021 I was appointed to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, where I continue to scrutinise the government’s plans to bring forward legislation to protect our military personal who served in Northern Ireland.
With the Ministry of Defence announcing that the Barracks would stay in Brecon and the UK Government funding the appointment of a Veteran Commissioner for Wales, I remain determined to do all I can to improve the working lives of military personnel and to ensure that our veterans receive the support and recognition they so richly deserve. Going forward, I believe that Breconshire deserves its own reservist base, there are many who want to continue their service in their spare time, a new unit would boost Wales’s engagement with the Armed Forces even further, and so I am working with the Ministry of Defence on a new Reservist Army Unit close to Breconshire. You can sign my petition here.