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Armed Forces: Pipers

Volume 705: debated on Tuesday 4 November 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the Foreign and Commonwealth Office stopped pipers from the Royal Gurkha Rifles and the Royal Irish Guards from honouring their commitment to perform in Moscow in September; what response they received from Brigadier Mel Jameson and other organisers of the event at which they were committed to perform; and what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the ban for its intended purpose. [HL5324]

In the light of Russia's military actions in Georgia and the situation on the ground at the time, it was not felt appropriate for British Army musicians to attend. The decision to cancel the participation of pipers from the Royal Gurkha Rifles and the Irish Guards in the Kremlin Zoria Military Tattoo was taken in consultation with the Ministry of Defence. The UK took into account the approach adopted by other countries sending pipers who were serving military officers. Several countries, including Canada, also withdrew their pipers. Our decision to withdraw was consistent with our wider policy on military-to-military co-operation with Russia, including withdrawal from a joint naval exercise due to take place around that time.