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Cadets and veterans debate UK legacy of World War One in Lords Chamber

On Friday 29 November, the House of Lords Chamber will host an inter-generational debate between young cadets from all over the UK and veterans associated with the Royal British Legion

The House of Lords, in partnership with the MOD, The Royal British Legion and the English-Speaking Union, is bringing together around 150 secondary-school age Army Cadets, Sea Cadets, Air Cadets and members of the Combined Cadet Force, to join veterans of all ages and military backgrounds. They will gather in the Lords Chamber to debate the question: ‘One hundred years after World War One, what is the legacy for the UK and how does it shape the nation today?'

The Lord Speaker, Baroness D'Souza, said:

“In the run up to the centenary of World War One, I am delighted that the Lords is able to host what I hope will be a thought-provoking debate, with young people – some of whom may be considering a career in the armed forces – and those who have already served in the military.

“Chairing the debate from the Woolsack, I look forward to hearing the speakers' views on the legacy of World War One, and how it shapes the UK today. With views from all ages and experiences, this promises to be a lively and challenging debate. I hope that it will touch upon a number of relevant issues about our society, the UK as a nation and our place in the world today.  I hope too that it will provide a fitting way of remembering those who made the ultimate sacrifice in World War One and in conflicts before and since.”

There will be three core teams who will each take a different stance on the debate:

  • The UK is a more globally responsible nation
  • Society is more aware of the impact of war
  • The UK has not learned from its experience

Captain Sea Cadets, Captain J T Holloway RN, said:

“We are delighted that Sea Cadets from across the UK are taking part in this fascinating debate about World War One to herald the commemorations of the centenary year in 2014. This is a unique opportunity to speak at the House of Lords and put into practice the communications skills that they have learnt at their local units. Our cadets are articulate, independent thinkers and, thanks to the support from the English-Speaking Union, they have acquired debating skills that will benefit them in adult life.”

Commandant Air Cadets, Air Commodore Dawn McCafferty, said:

“I am delighted to see Air Cadets participating in this probably once-in-a-lifetime event and believe that they and their fellow cadets will gain a great deal from the experience of debating defence related topics alongside veterans. To be invited to the House of Lords is an honour and a privilege and I am confident that our young representatives will do us proud in this high profile public arena. May the best team win!”

Director Youth and Cadets at Army Headquarters, Brigadier David Keenan, said:

“Young people took part in World War One, so it is absolutely fitting that its legacy is being debated by young people today.  This occasion is not only part of their education and learning, but is also a tremendous opportunity to genuinely share thoughts and feelings, and to reflect on the past with their peers and with those who have served their country.  Army Cadets are proud and grateful for having been allowed to debate such an important topic in such prestigious surroundings.

The session will be webcast at and is also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament's Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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