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Grantham and Stamford MP: ‘Britain has an almost unique global position so we must do our bit to support Israel’

Like many locally, my thoughts this week especially have been with our brave service personnel of our Armed Forces currently deployed in-and-around the Middle East. From pilots and ground crews of the Royal Air Force to those deployed Royal Navy warships, we should all be proud of their efforts to keep us and our allies safe, writes Stamford and Grantham MP Gareth Davies.

Last weekend, Typhoon fighter jets were scrambled from their base at RAF Akrotiri in British territory on the island of Cyprus to join their American and Jordanian counterparts assisting Israeli air defence to counter over 300 drones and missiles fired by Iran.

Some may question Britain’s involvement in conflict thousands of miles from home; why RAF fighter jets fly over Syria and Iraq; or why British warships escort foreign-flagged ships through the Red Sea. The answer is simple - Britain is a global military power with a duty to uphold the international rules-based order that previous generations fought to build.

MP Gareth Davies
MP Gareth Davies

Britain has an almost unique position in the world. As a leading member of NATO, a member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance, and a recognised nuclear power holding one of just five permanent seats on the UN Security Council, our influence is comparable only to that of the United States and France amongst Western nations.

With continued threats from violent groups such as Daesh (ISIS), Hamas, and Houthi fighters, and state actors such as Russia, Iran, and North Korea, we must do our bit alongside our allies.

It is vital that we have a Government that is clear on the threats we face and has the experience to face them down. Following his meeting with G7 leaders, I was pleased that the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary strongly condemned the Iranian attack seen at the weekend against Israel and sent a clear message to Tehran that such aggression will not be tolerated.

There is ongoing work to ensure that our Armed Forces have the very best equipment at their disposal, all the while supporting thousands of British jobs. Over the coming years, all branches are set to benefit from more advanced equipment, including new warships and submarines, the modernised Challenger III tank, and sixth-generation fighter jets through the Global Combat Air Programme.

This is backed by the largest boost in defence spending since the Second World War and a clear commitment from the Chancellor to raise defence spending further to 2.5% of GDP as soon as economic conditions allow.

We must also always do what we can to support service personnel once they decide to leave the forces. Our area in particular is home to more veterans than almost anywhere else, so it was excellent to hear the Government’s new plan to assist veterans into civilian jobs after their service. Launched last week, Op Prosper is the first-ever dedicated employment pathway, helping veterans secure jobs using the valuable skills they developed in the service of our country.

I am sure that you will all join me in thanking our brave pilots for their efforts over the weekend and wishing them God speed as they stand ready to save lives and protect our interests overseas.

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