PMQs: Lest we forget

A different Prime Minister’s Questions review this week. Often, the Prime Minister prefaces his first answer with a tribute to fallen service personnel. I have mentioned these tributes a few times in the course of these write-ups over the last (nearly) two years.

It seems appropriate to devote the whole of this week’s review solely to those who have died fighting for us, as we pass the milestone of 400 troops killed in Afghanistan with a particularly bloody incident.

Whatever our views of the right or the wrongs of our involvements overseas, I think most people agree that our service personnel do their jobs extremely bravely and with the utmost professionalism. We must be forever grateful for the sacrifice of those who have fallen, as well as expressing deepest sympathy to their grieving families and friends.

So here, simply, are the tributes to the latest fallen at PMQs this week:

The Prime Minister (Mr David Cameron): I hope you will permit me, Mr Speaker, before I answer any questions, to make the following announcement. Yesterday, a Warrior armoured fighting vehicle on patrol near the eastern border of Helmand province was struck by an explosion. It is with very great sadness that I must tell the House that six soldiers are missing, believed killed. Five of them are from the 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment and one is from the 1st Battalion the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment. Our thoughts are with the family and friends of those brave servicemen. This will be the largest loss of life in a single incident in Afghanistan since 2006. It takes the overall number of casualties that we have suffered in Afghanistan to more than 400. Every death and every injury reminds us of the human cost paid by our armed forces to keep our country safe. I have spoken this morning to the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Chief of the General Staff and the commanding officer of 3rd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment. They each stressed the commitment of our troops to the mission and to getting the job done. I know that everyone will want a message of support and backing for our troops and their families to go out from this House today.

Nick Boles: I echo the Prime Minister’s tribute to the fallen. Their service and their sacrifice humbles us all.

Edward Miliband (Doncaster North) (Lab): I join the Prime Minister in expressing profound sadness at the terrible news of our six soldiers who are missing, feared dead. Today, we are reminded of the ongoing commitment and sacrifice that our service personnel make on our behalf. By putting themselves in harm’s way for our benefit, they demonstrate the utmost service and courage. We owe them and all those who have lost their lives in Afghanistan an immense debt of gratitude, and our thoughts are with their family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist. He is one of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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One Comment

  • Jayne Mansfield 9th Mar '12 - 11:41am

    It is heartbreaking to see the photographs of those brave young men who gave their lives believing that they were making Britain and the world safer for all of us.

    Like so many of their comrades before them, some of the men hadn’t even lived passed what some of us still think of the age of majority.

    I hope that their families receive the finest bereavement counselling and assistance that is available.

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