With polling day almost upon us, BAFF has received several enquiries about the attitude of the competing political parties to the principle of a representative professional staff association for the armed forces. Based on responses to our representations during the last Parliament about statutory recognition of that principle, we can confirm that it has official support from the following parties:
- Liberal Democrats
- Plaid Cymru
Replies from Conservative and Labour MPs were more mixed, with more Labour than Conservative backbenchers confirming support. The common line from members of the Conservatives' Defence Team was that:
"I fully understand why our Armed Forces might wish to establish a Federation ... Although I am sympathetic to those who feel that an Armed Forces Federation is required, I am not convinced that this would be the best way to proceed."
Several members of the House of Commons Defence Committee and several former Defence Ministers, including at least one Conservative, indicated various degrees of support.
Linda Gilroy MP, a Labour member of the Defence Committee and a participant in the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, became our campaign's lead parliamentary sponsor, and was the host of our Parliamentary Reception in May, 2009. Linda Gilroy was also instrumental in BAFF having been represented since January, 2010 on the Ministry of Justice's Service Voting Working Group.
BAFF is politically neutral, is barred by its own Constitution from affiliation with any political party, and pursues all its campaigns on a cross-party basis.