• Commemorating D-Day and looking after our veterans

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    10 June 2019

    On 6th June we commemorated the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings which paved the way for the liberation of Europe and victory in the Second World War. We must never forget the sacrifices made by those who took part in Operation Overlord, particularly as the next decade is likely to see the passing of the last D-Day survivors. I am proud that the Government has contributed £20million towards a British Normandy Memorial and over 4,000 personnel were involved in D-Day events in the UK and France, alongside representatives from the countries that fought alongside us. 

    Operation Overlord remains the most significant combined operation in our history and the commemorations were an important reminder of the need for the international community to work together to defeat the threats we face today and part of this will be ensuring that our future relationship with the European Union includes close cooperation on security matters. This threat, of course, is very different compared with 75 years ago, with today peace on our continent but individuals and groups still determined to comment acts of terrorism. Before I left my post as a minister in the Treasury to become Leader of the House of Commons I was proud to help increase counter-terrorism funding significantly in this Parliament to £816million for 2019/20.

    As we salute the veterans of D-Day still with us we must also improve the care that we offer to all our veterans, including those who have served more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan. With this in mind, in November I supported the launch of the UK’s first ever Veterans’ Strategy which will ensure our veterans get the help and opportunities they need. It will include a Government taskforce made up of representatives from departments across Whitehall and will focus on: helping veterans meet the financial demands of civilian life (as debt represents the highest percentage of calls to the Veterans’ Gateway support service); providing the best possible support for lasting physical injuries or mental health problems; offering advice on housing; supporting community integration for those who feel a loss of camaraderie or identity upon leaving the Armed Forces. We owe those who have fought for our country the best possible care and support and this ground-breaking strategy will help achieve this. For more information visit

    The visit of the President of the United States last week for the D-Day celebrations also included discussions on a future UK-US trade deal after we leave the European Union. An agreement was struck earlier this year to preserve £12.8billion of trade but a full trade deal will be negotiated after Brexit. With the US importing twice the value of our goods and services than of any other country and each remaining the largest investor in the other’s economy, our special relationship must remain strong.

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