Armed Forces personnel to get priority access to Westminster

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by jim30, Nov 5, 2009.

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  1. Now I know the majority of us would rather be marching on Westminster with bayonets fixed, but if any of you fancy a recce of the place, then this is the link for you!

    More seriously, this is a small, but nice gesture by the Speaker, which in a little way helps show the campaign for increased support for HM Forces is gaining recognition.

    Thursday, November 05, 2009

    The public gallery is always full for prime minister's questions and members of the public have to queue up well before it starts if they want to guarantee getting a seat however serving members of the armed forces will be given priority when the Commons allocates places in the public gallery for prime minister's questions, John Bercow said today.

    The Speaker told MPs that up to six places in the public gallery would be reserved for armed forces personnel during PMQs or any other parliamentary debate.

    If more than six service personnel visit parliament at any one time, those who cannot get seats in the Commons gallery will be given a tour of the palace of Westminster and the opportunity to sit in the public gallery in the House of Lords until a seat in the Commons gallery becomes available.

    Bercow made the announcement a day after Gordon Brown expressed his backing for the proposal at prime minister's questions.

    In a short statement to MPs, Bercow said: "We owe a huge debt to those who serve in our armed forces. They will always be welcome in this place."

    The public gallery is always full for prime minister's questions and members of the public have to queue up well before it starts if they want to guarantee getting a seat. At other times, when the Commons is debating routine business, people can normally get into the gallery without waiting.

    Brown always starts prime minister's questions with a tribute to any British servicemen killed in action since he last addressed the Commons.

    Bercow told MPs today: "I'm glad to say that we will ensure that up to six visiting serving members of the armed forces will always be found a place in the gallery whatever the other pressures may be."

    The issue was raised at PMQs yesterday by the Labour MP Stephen Pound. He said there was all-party support for the idea of giving armed forces personnel priority and he said the idea had originally been proposed by the Greenford branch of the Royal British Legion.
  2. I'd rather see something meaningful like:

    6 places on each council house waiting list for ex-service families

    6 places on each NHS dentist list for service families

    6 places on each school entrance list for service children

    6 places on each drink/drugs rehabilitation centre for ex-servicemen

    6 places dedicated in each psychie ward for psychiatric treatment for ex-servicemen with PTSD

    6 places on each apprenticeship course for young service-leavers
  3. I'd like to see 6 snipers in the public gallery.
  4. Totally right Herrumph, when single mothers and undeservedly characters get all the benefits!
  5. I think it's a rather noble gesture and not really deserving of cynical remarks.
  6. What Booty said,

    Plus I think I'm right in saying there is some provision for Service personnel and their families already for NHS etc. How effective that is I wouldn't know.
  7. Very droll, Booty, nice one. It's not noble, it's free. It costs them nothing and, hey guys let's be clear on this, might even be worth a vote or two.
  8. The Speaker normally stands for Parliament unopposed and therefore is unlikely to need your vote, so I doubt that was his motivation.
  9. Not this time. Some UKIP throbber is running against him in Bedford.

    Not a fan of Bercow but it would would be churlish not to acknowledge this as a welcome gesture.