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Parliamentarians gain insight into military life during AFPS visit

Images show a visit by the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme to British Forces Gibraltar.

The Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme (AFPS) is run from within Parliament as a charitable incorporated organisation under the governance of the Charity Commission. Its purpose is the better education and information of parliamentarians from both the Commons and the Lords about the way of life of service people.

The scheme runs from September to late July and allows 45 parliamentarians from both Houses to take part each year, 15 to each of the three services. It is always heavily oversubscribed, which allows for a cross-party balance to be achieved.

Something like 200 parliamentarians will go through the scheme in any one Parliament which translates to a significant increase in understanding of defence across both Houses.

The aim of the scheme is to give parliamentarians, the vast majority of whom have no experience of our armed forces, an insight into military life that would not otherwise be available to them. It enables them to be able to make a more informed and useful contribution to defence debates and questions.

The programme focusses on speaking to the people that are at the front-end of Defence delivery. During their visit to Gibraltar last week, they were exposed the realities of living standards and training opportunities our young soldiers experience by visiting the Royal Gibraltar Regiment; Buffadero Training Centre and the Tunnels showed the versatility of the Land capability.

The highlight for this Naval focused visit naturally fell to the Royal Navy Gibraltar Squadron.

HMS Dagger and Cutlass deployed on Sovereignty Operations accompanied by the parliamentarians, who experienced the thrill of 40 knots around Europa Point.

Finally, the Governor Vice Admiral, Sir David Steel, and the Chief Minister, Fabian Picardo, hosted the group who discussed the challenges/opportunities faced by an ever-changing political framework in the region.

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