Labour to enshrine the principles of the Military Covenant

30 September 2012

Jim Murphy

Jim Murphy MP, Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary, will announce today that Labour is becoming the first ever party to guarantee that its internal procedures are in line with the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant.

Building on the success of measures already taken to stregnthen the links between the Labour Party and the service community, Labour will guarantee that no party member will be disadvantaged when participating in the Party as a result of their service.

This is a cultural change that aims to see a level playing field between those who have served and others. Labour wants to ensure our public life can benefit from the wisdom, insight and experience of former service personnel.

The Labour Party at all times ensures that political participation of service people is in line wi th Queens Regulations.

Jim Murphy MP, addressing the Annual Labour Party Conference, is expected to say:

"Our commitment to the service community has always been core to our values - now we want it to be part of our Party's DNA.

"Today I can announce that the Labour Party is the first and only Party to ensure that our procedures are now in line with the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant. The sacrifice of service will not be a barrier to clear but a badge to be honoured in our Movement and no Labour Party member will be disadvantaged as a result of service in the Armed Forces."

Jim Murphy MP will also outline the success of measures announced last year:

"At last year's conference we agreed he creation of Labour Friends of the Forces, a group to campaign to strengthen the bond between our Party and the Forces. We now have almost 700 members.

"We agreed that we would be the only Party ever to offer a £1 membership for serving and former members of our Armed Forces. Many have fought for our security and now want to change our country. I'm delighted to confirm that nearly 500 have joined the Labour Party this year."

Jim Murphy MP will make clear that in light of redundancies and the draw down from Afghanistan, helping veterans find employment is a priority for Labour.

"Our country is brilliant at turning civilians into soldiers, but we are not good enough when the time comes to turning soldiers back into civilians. Finding work is so important and that's why we launched the Veterans' Interview Programme.

"It is simply wrong for anyone who has served in Afghanistan and comes back to a public parade and heroes' welcome to be sacked by their Government almost immediately and then be expected to simply join the back of the queue at the local Job Centre. It shouldn't happen and under the next Labour Government it won't."

Jim Murphy MP will attack the Coalition Parties:

"Only this Government would build two carriers, mothball one, sell our Harriers and have no planes to fly off a carrier for almost a decade. At each election the Conservatives stand on a platform of 'government doesn't work'. Judging by their actions they seem hell-bent on proving their claim. Two and a half years into their Government having a catch-all slogan of "it's not my fault" just isn't good enough for our country or our Armed Forces.

"What of the Lib Dems? They used to complain the public didn't know what they stood for. One achievement in Government is that they will never again lose votes because people don't know what they stand for: it's any power over all principle."

Jim Murphy MP will say on the SNP:

"As for the SNP, they want to debate how many questions there will be in the referendum because they can't decide on many of the answers about independence. It's time for th em to come clean about their plans because when it comes to defence separation is a powerful idea from the 19th century ill-suited to the 21st century."