Members of Parliament and the TA

What role should MPs play in the TA?

  • MPs should be allowed to serve in the TA and speak freely in Parliament on TA matters.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • MPs should be allowed to serve but, by convention, should not involve themselves in TA matters.

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • MPs should not be allowed to serve in the TA to prevent a conflict of interest with the chain of com

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    0
#1
For anyone who knows how the Army RP staff work, the decision to make savings of £20m by suspending TA trg would not have been taken easily and would be cognisant of those areas of Army spending that were being safeguarded in order to sp operations in Afghanistan and the Regular Army (the TA may be the reserve of first choice but the Regular Army is still the army of first choice!). Mindful of this, the subject of the TA cutbacks has become emotional to say the least, not only on this splendid website but also on the hallowed grounds of Parliament.

Clearly there have been certain concessions made to the TA in the past couple of days due to mounting political pressure. I would argue though that this pressure has been brought to the Government’s and media’s ‘in-trays’ by personal, and highly privileged, questions from serving TA officers who are also MPs. Whilst the proposed cuts to the TA are unsavoury, the matter of ‘TA MPs’ raising questions in the House against a chain of command which they can opt to circumvent is, I feel, militarily immoral and not conducive to MPs serving in the TA in any capacity. Either that or they should be barred from raising issues apropos the TA (clearly this option is unthinkable in the Commons).

I am interested what the thoughts of ARRSE are.
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#2
It's a simple constitutional matter in my eyes - MPs are 'citizens' and as such should be allowed - indeed encouraged - to join, and be in the reserves.

Put it another way - possible embarrassment to some people in the Army is no reason to disallow them from Service.
 
#3
Sangreal said:
For anyone who knows how the Army RP staff work, the decision to make savings of £20m by suspending TA trg would not have been taken easily and would be cognisant of those areas of Army spending that were being safeguarded in order to sp operations in Afghanistan and the Regular Army (the TA may be the reserve of first choice but the Regular Army is still the army of first choice!). Mindful of this, the subject of the TA cutbacks has become emotional to say the least, not only on this splendid website but also on the hallowed grounds of Parliament.

Clearly there have been certain concessions made to the TA in the past couple of days due to mounting political pressure. I would argue though that this pressure has been brought to the Government’s and media’s ‘in-trays’ by personal, and highly privileged, questions from serving TA officers who are also MPs. Whilst the proposed cuts to the TA are unsavoury, the matter of ‘TA MPs’ raising questions in the House against a chain of command which they can opt to circumvent is, I feel, militarily immoral and not conducive to MPs serving in the TA in any capacity. Either that or they should be barred from raising issues apropos the TA (clearly this option is unthinkable in the Commons).

I am interested what the thoughts of ARRSE are.
Perhaps if the current and past CGS's had had more influence, and current and previous PMs / Chancellors SoS for Def spent time on the front line (other than for photo opportunities) this would never have become an issue.

If UK PLC wants a military then it must fund it.
If it then wants said military to go to war for the best part of 15 years it must pay for it.

Anything less is politically immoral.

Those same "TA" mps also fight hard for the regular army, navy and airforce. We forget that at our peril.
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#5
Sangreal said:
For anyone who knows how the Army RP staff work, the decision to make savings of £20m by suspending TA trg would not have been taken easily and would be cognisant of those areas of Army spending that were being safeguarded in order to sp operations in Afghanistan and the Regular Army (the TA may be the reserve of first choice but the Regular Army is still the army of first choice!). Mindful of this, the subject of the TA cutbacks has become emotional to say the least, not only on this splendid website but also on the hallowed grounds of Parliament.

Clearly there have been certain concessions made to the TA in the past couple of days due to mounting political pressure. I would argue though that this pressure has been brought to the Government’s and media’s ‘in-trays’ by personal, and highly privileged, questions from serving TA officers who are also MPs. Whilst the proposed cuts to the TA are unsavoury, the matter of ‘TA MPs’ raising questions in the House against a chain of command which they can opt to circumvent is, I feel, militarily immoral and not conducive to MPs serving in the TA in any capacity. Either that or they should be barred from raising issues apropos the TA (clearly this option is unthinkable in the Commons).

I am interested what the thoughts of ARRSE are.
On that basis, let's ban every profession from the Commons. Anyway, it does senior officers no harm to know they can be circumvented every now and then. Further, the standards of moral courage in any organisation improve when it's harder to cover things up - it would be one effective way to improve performance across the public sector.

The original TA decision was a bad decision full stop. If someone feels undermined they've only themselves to blame and, if they were relying on controlling all the information channels to protect themselves, then more fool them. Parliament should be about running the country properly, whatever it takes, and having TA soldiers present adds to the reserve of up to date awareness of the military and what it does.
 
#6
OldSnowy said:
It's a simple constitutional matter in my eyes - MPs are 'citizens' and as such should be allowed - indeed encouraged - to join, and be in the reserves.

Put it another way - possible embarrassment to some people in the Army is no reason to disallow them from Service.
So, not matter what their rank, a TA officer/OR (who happens also to be an MP) can publicly and officially disagree with a 4* general without the normal chain of command conventions of that all other servicemen are bound by?
 
#7
Sangreal said:
OldSnowy said:
It's a simple constitutional matter in my eyes - MPs are 'citizens' and as such should be allowed - indeed encouraged - to join, and be in the reserves.

Put it another way - possible embarrassment to some people in the Army is no reason to disallow them from Service.
So, not matter what their rank, a TA officer/OR (who happens also to be an MP) can publicly and officially disagree with a 4* general without the normal chain of command conventions of that all other servicemen are bound by?
At the end of the day they are citizens of this country (as are regular officers) and have that choice. Rather than slating them, I'd be happy that they support the military in those spineless corridors.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#8
I have been surprized and annoyed by the way some people on ARRSE have seen this as a Regular v Reserve issue. It is not and should not be seen as such. This is an attack on the Armed Forces by a common enemy.

There is no proof that anyone in the military CoC has collaborated with Brown and his cronies only Brown's word which is worthless.

In an ideal world CDS and CGS would have said 'No, sorry but don't you know there is a war on? There are no more cuts to be made, if you insist its a political decision you make it and you take the consequences and I resign...'

Of course it's not an ideal world and they also have a conflicting duty to stay and make the best of the pooh stick we have been handed - as do we all.

As for the MP's they are not arguing that the cuts should have fallen elsewhere in the defence budget but that they should not have fallen at all. Don't fall into the ZaNU Labour spin trap of believing that there is no money. Money is tight but there is plenty of money for things which Brown believes will buy him votes.
 
#9
Sangreal said:
OldSnowy said:
It's a simple constitutional matter in my eyes - MPs are 'citizens' and as such should be allowed - indeed encouraged - to join, and be in the reserves.

Put it another way - possible embarrassment to some people in the Army is no reason to disallow them from Service.
So, not matter what their rank, a TA officer/OR (who happens also to be an MP) can publicly and officially disagree with a 4* general without the normal chain of command conventions of that all other servicemen are bound by?
I think those are the rules. Any other bits of our Democracy you wish to abolish ? Parliamentary Privilege is an issue that you meddle with at Peril to us all. Note also that the few TA Offrs in parliament who kicked off on this are significantly outnumbered by other MPs expressing concern - up to and incl a former SoS for Defence.

The Army in Society eh ?
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
Sangreal said:
OldSnowy said:
It's a simple constitutional matter in my eyes - MPs are 'citizens' and as such should be allowed - indeed encouraged - to join, and be in the reserves.

Put it another way - possible embarrassment to some people in the Army is no reason to disallow them from Service.
So, not matter what their rank, a TA officer/OR (who happens also to be an MP) can publicly and officially disagree with a 4* general without the normal chain of command conventions of that all other servicemen are bound by?
Yes, because, by dint of standing for election and winning, they put that point to the electorate, whether overtly or not, and the electorate consented. Since the people are essentially sovereign, in theory at least, that carries precedent over military convention.

Don't worry about this one too much - we owe the existence of the SAS to a junior officer's willingness to tie his chain of command into knots, Orde Wingate was notorious for going straight to Churchill when he didn't get his way and Churchill himself wrote books critical of the high command whilst himself a junior officer.
 
#11
Mr_Bridger said:
At the end of the day they are citizens of this country (as are regular officers) and have that choice...
I can assure you that Regular officers do not have the choice of standing for, let alone being elected, as an MP.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#12
Sangreal said:
Mr_Bridger said:
At the end of the day they are citizens of this country (as are regular officers) and have that choice...
I can assure you that Regular officers do not have the choice of standing for, let alone being elected, as an MP.
Do you really believe that that is what he meant? Or are you just a troll?
 
#13
Sangreal said:
Mr_Bridger said:
At the end of the day they are citizens of this country (as are regular officers) and have that choice...
I can assure you that Regular officers do not have the choice of standing for, let alone being elected, as an MP.
No but they have the choice to contact their MPs (do they not). At the end of the day what is required is sympathetic ear(s) in Parliament, backed by the courage to follow the argument through.

If some ministers (or the PM) are now licking their wounds, I care not.

Not so long ago, there would have been a large number of those in the HoP who would have served, and more importantly understood.

Would you also suggest that Ex TA / Regs should not stand for Parliament?
 
#15
Sangreal said:
OldSnowy said:
It's a simple constitutional matter in my eyes - MPs are 'citizens' and as such should be allowed - indeed encouraged - to join, and be in the reserves.

Put it another way - possible embarrassment to some people in the Army is no reason to disallow them from Service.
So, not matter what their rank, a TA officer/OR (who happens also to be an MP) can publicly and officially disagree with a 4* general without the normal chain of command conventions of that all other servicemen are bound by?
Assumption is always bad.
Did they ask these questions becaus it affected them personally, as you intimate,
Or as members of an elected parliment, representing the voters who elected them on an issue, that obviously ranges across a wide spectrum of the populace,and could have far reaching impact for the Armed Forces as a whole?
 
#16
Sorry to be asking a bone question which a quick google hasn't quite resolved: Which current MP's are members of the TA (past and present)?

I'll open with my contribution; Mark Lancaster, Tory MP for North East Milton Keynes is a Major in the Royal Engineers.

Much as I hate being a tory bastard (I'll claim to be a swing voter to preserve my integrity), I can't help but vote for him; I may despise Cameron, but Lancaster seems to go with the party in the right places and rebel in the right places.

Interesting fact- he has publicly criticised the decision to invade iraq in 03, and has voted repeatedly for an investigation into the desicion. Is this a break from official army policy? Or what?
 
#17
BuggerAll - Nail Head Hit.
 
#18
BuggerAll said:
Sangreal said:
Mr_Bridger said:
At the end of the day they are citizens of this country (as are regular officers) and have that choice...
I can assure you that Regular officers do not have the choice of standing for, let alone being elected, as an MP.
Do you really believe that that is what he meant? Or are you just a troll?
I'm certainly not a troll but what is your interpretation of 'At the end of the day they are citizens of this country (as are regular officers) and have that choice'?
 
#19
Regular officers can't speak with their MP?

Lancaster may have tabelled the adjournment debate.... (and debate is never a bad thing), but there was a long list of people who put questions in the House, from all parties.
 
#20
Sangreal said:
Mr_Bridger said:
At the end of the day they are citizens of this country (as are regular officers) and have that choice...
I can assure you that Regular officers do not have the choice of standing for, let alone being elected, as an MP.
Yes you do. You just have to resign before the election begins - same as for a civil servant. It's an instant out, no questions asked. Check the rules.

You cannot remain serving as an MP - as a 2nd job, it's fairly incompatible with operational service. But you could always join the TA - we'd probably be delighted to have you.
 

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