In the run-up to Remembrance Sunday members of the House of Lords debated the role of the armed forces and their contribution to the UK yesterday (Monday 5 November)
Lord Astor of Hever (Conservative), parliamentary under-secretary of state and government spokesperson, Ministry of Defence, tabled the debate.
He opened the debate by paying tribute to those serving in the armed forces: 'Their selfless commitment, dedication to service and professionalism is inspiring to us all. They do not choose where they are sent, but they are willing to risk life and limb, on our behalf. As a country, we owe them a great deal.'
He continued: 'In this period of remembrance, let us pay tribute to all those who have served in the past, particularly those who have paid the ultimate price to keep our nation free.'
Lord Craig of Radley (Crossbench), former chief of the defence staff and senior president of the Not Forgotten Association, spoke of the need to keep the defence budget under constant review. He urged the government to ensure that the armed forces 'are sent on combat operations only when adequately armed and equipped for the task.'
Lord Burnett (Liberal Democrat), former troop commander and company second-in-command, 40 Commando in Far East and Middle East, said: 'We owe it to our Armed Forces to ensure that they are properly manned and equipped and that they and their families are decently looked after and housed.'
Baroness Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde (Labour), vice president of the War Widows Association, spoke of the debts owed to those that have fallen and the loved ones left behind. She said: 'One or two quotes have been given around the period of remembrance we are in at the moment. One that always strikes home to me is, "Lest we forget". We forget at our general peril if we do not face up to our responsibility to our Armed Forces and their families.'
Baroness Garden of Frognal (Liberal Democrat) responded on behalf of the government.