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Armed Forces Day 2010

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2009

8. What recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues and Welsh Assembly Government Ministers on plans for Armed Forces day 2010 in Wales. (285613)

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I were both very proud to have played a part in Armed Forces day 2009. We are extremely grateful for the opportunity to pay tribute to the men and women of our armed forces. I have already had many discussions with Ministers about the preparations for next year’s Armed Forces day, and I am very pleased that the 2010 national ceremony will be held in Cardiff.

I thank my hon. Friend for his response. During this year’s armed forces celebrations, veterans’ organisations in Bridgend and Porthcawl held wonderful celebrations. Will he ensure that the Assembly Government help to co-ordinate and promote the various towns and local communities that will want to hold their own celebrations on that national day next year in Wales?

Yes, my hon. Friend makes a very good point indeed. It is important to have effective co-ordination in national celebrations, but a lot depends on what happens at the local level. One of the things that we have been doing successfully is having negotiations not only here in London, but with the Welsh Assembly Government and local authorities. I am sure that, in preparing for next year’s Armed Forces day, those discussions will continue and bear fruit.

As part of those celebrations across Wales and beyond, will the Minister make a specific commitment to endorsing the work of the Royal British Legion and, in particular, the huge amount of pastoral work that it does in supporting ex-servicemen across the country? We are talking not just about an act of remembrance, but about an act of celebration of work that is ongoing.

One of the good things about Armed Forces day, and Veterans day before it, is the close co-operation with the Royal British Legion. I pay tribute to the commitment that the Royal British Legion has displayed, and I am sure that those discussions will continue to be effective in planning for the future. The hon. Gentleman is perfectly right that Armed Forces day is not simply a celebration of the tremendous commitment that our armed forces have shown in the past, but a celebration of the dedication that they display today.