EVESHAM’s MP Nigel Huddleston visited the Falkland Islands last week as part of his work with the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme.
The project is intended to help parliamentarians understand the work of the armed forces and around 300 MPs have taken part since it began in 1989. Privately funded but supported by the Ministry of Defence, the scheme is intended to ensure politicians from all the main parties can gain access to troops at a working level and an understanding of service life.
MPs are attached to a service of their choice and Mr Huddleston elected to join the Royal Air Force (RAF) course.
The course lasts for one year and during this time, he is due to spend 15 to 20 days – mainly during parliamentary recess times – on the scheme. To date he has already spent time at RAF Shawbury, RAF Wittering, RAF Leeming, RAF Waddington, RAF Odiham and RAF Lossiemouth.
During the trip Mr Huddleston met with the Governor of the Falkland Islands, Members of the Falkland Islands Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and members of the economic development team. As well as interacting with members of the Falkland Islands’ government Nigel Huddleston spent time with all three branches of the armed forces, including aboard patrol vessel HMS Clyde. He also visited the sites of important battles such as Mount Harriet, Goose Green and San Carlos and paid his respects at war memorials in Port Stanley and elsewhere across the islands.
Reflecting on his trip, Mr Huddleston said: “My time in the Falkland Islands was fascinating and it was humbling to visit the sites of so many important events in its recent history. I learned a lot about the challenges and opportunities for the Falkland Islands during my meetings with members of its government, including the issues of poor connectivity and the opportunities for tourism and oil exploration.
“Much of my time on the AFPS so far has been spent with the RAF so it was especially interesting to also learn about the other branches of the armed forces while in the Falklands and spend time aboard HMS Clyde.”