Make Remembrance Day a bank holiday says Tory MP Claire Perry
Marlborough MP Claire Perry today (Wednesday) introduced a 10 Minute Rule Bill in the House of Commons proposing that Remembrance Day be made into a permanent Bank Holiday in tribute to our armed forces.
She told Marlborough News Online: “Having one national bank holiday to pay tribute to our armed forces would be the best way to bring together the people of the United Kingdom to support the military now and in the future.”
“Many other major countries recognise the contributions of their current and former service personnel in this way and I think it is time that we did too.”
In the Commons, she declared: “This Bill would consolidate and entrench long-term public support for our armed forces. My constituency of Devizes includes many of the Salisbury plain garrison towns and is home to more than 10,000 members of the armed forces and at least the same number of service family members.”
And she added: “My father, both grandfathers and my great-grandfather served in the British Army. I am therefore particularly proud to wear a poppy in early November, sport various charity wristbands, attend homecomings and parades in both Westminster and Wiltshire, observe the silence at 11 am on Armistice Day, and to lay a wreath on Remembrance Sunday.
“Indeed, laying a wreath at the Devizes war memorial last November was one of the most solemn and thought-provoking moments of my new career as a Member of Parliament.”
“I am also proud to support armed forces day, introduced more than two years ago and held in late June. I know that in all of this support I am joined by Members on both sides of the House and millions of people across the country.”
“But I fear that with all of these initiatives and opportunities to show our support we have perhaps fragmented that support—diluted the brand. And many events happen at weekends when working families—as I know for myself—can face as many time pressures as they do during the week, sometimes making their participation in weekend events difficult.”
“I am also concerned that while we have seen a real upwelling of support for the armed forces in the last few years, due in no small part to the tireless work of the Royal British Legion who are Britain’s ‘custodians of remembrance’, as well as the work of charities such as Help for Heroes—headquartered in my constituency—SSAFA and the Army Benevolent Fund, when our soldiers return home from their current operations it may be difficult to keep this momentum going and to ensure that we as a country deliver on our obligations under the military covenant.”
“A day set aside in our busy calendars for remembrance, support and celebration of our armed forces would help to keep the support alive in the future.”
She pointed that her proposal was not a “radical” suggestion as many other countries pay tribute to their armed forces with a national holiday, in particular New Zealand, where her husband was born, which celebrates Anzac Day.