Burnley MP is in the Army now as he signs up to Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham has signed up to the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme.
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Established by Conservative MP Sir Neil Thorne in 1989, this scheme provides military training to Members of Parliament, giving them a first-hand insight into military life that would not otherwise be available to them.

It is then hoped that they will be able to make a more informed and useful contribution to defence debates in their respective Houses, giving much greater awareness of military issues.

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While MPs can join any branch of the Armed Forces in the United Kingdom, Antony has chosen to join the Army for his first 12 months attachment.

Burnley MP Antony HigginbothamBurnley MP Antony Higginbotham
Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham

Last week Antony completed his first visit on the scheme when he attended the two day residential ‘Introduction to Defence’ course at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham, Wiltshire.

He said: "Burnley has a long and proud connection to the armed forces which is evident from the number of veterans and serving personnel we have from the area. I'm therefore delighted to join the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme for its 2020-2021 course, focusing on the Army.

"Every year we see how much we rely on the armed forces, from their contribution to Covid-testing in the UK through to providing disaster recovery following hurricanes in the Caribbean.

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"And on top of all of that they remain ready, 24/7, to respond to whatever challenges and threats we might face. I think it is only right that I take every opportunity to learn more about how the army functions and the contributions it makes to our local area and the United Kingdom."

The course, which has around 30 MPs taking part from across the political spectrum, has a minimum commitment of 15 days over a 12 month period but Members are encouraged to go above this in order to get the most use from the visits being arranged.

The visit aims to prepare Members for the following 12 months course, with speakers from across the armed forces and civil service, as well as providing a number of practical hands-on events and demonstrations.

The scheme is also fully endorsed by the Ministry of Defence and all three single services of the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.