MY WEEK IN WESTMINSTER

PRIME Ministers Questions is, of course, the big event of the week in Parliament.

So it is always a major moment when you have a chance to question the man in charge of running our great country.

It was particularly pleasing last week, therefore, to be able to ask a question recognising the importance of a group of people who are very important to all of us – our Armed Forces.

Since becoming an MP I have tried to do my best to recognise and understand the hard work of our servicemen and servicewomen.

I have met with local soldiers who have asked for help and tried my best to support them.

I have joined the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme which allows me to spend time with the service personnel and learn more about their roles.

I have visited Weeton Barracks to talk to the troops and families based there and offer my hand of friendship and support.

And I have sought to champion defence procurement and equipment, backing our talented local suppliers, particularly BAE Systems but also other local companies like Industrial Exhibitions Ltd, who hope to become a key cog in the defence supply chain.

But raising issues of soldier support and solidarity in Parliament is always vital and I was delighted with the Prime Minister’s response to my question.

In response to a number of queries from service personnel, I asked the PM to do the right thing and ensure service families are given priority when it comes to housing.

I for one do not want to stand by and see a soldier who has returned from service in Afghanistan and departs the forces, to be stuck without a home on a housing list for years on end.

And I was delighted with the response.

In response the Prime Minister pledged to ensure that all service personnel and battalions were made aware of and encouraged towards the Government’s First Buy Direct policy – an equity loan scheme designed to help first time buyers.

It’s a small step but, I believe, a very welcome one.

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