British Armed Forces Federation exists and is completely legal for serving personnel to join, but it continues to support campaigns for fully recognised representative arrangements operating within sensible guidelines.
While remaining non-political and with no party affiliation, BAFF therefore welcomes the latest constitutional effort in the Westminster Parliament to keep moving the issue forward.
This was a proposed new clause in the current Armed Forces Bill. It predictably failed to gain Government support, but perhaps the most interesting thing about the proposed clause is to see how carefully it was drafted to be a workable legal provision.
The text of the proposed new clause can be seen at this link - scroll down to "new clause 3":
Former MoD Minister Kevan Jones MP (Labour, North Durham) said in the debate:
New clause 3 would establish an armed forces federation. This idea always sets off end-of-the-world notions in some in the military and some on the Conservative Back Benches, as though somehow if we had an armed forces federation, the world would stop. If it is good enough for our main allies—the United States, Australia and many European countries—it is good enough for me. People ask whether we are arguing for a trade union; the hon. Member for Glasgow North West* was correct to say that it is not about having a trade union for the armed forces. I understand the conservative—with a small c—nature of the military, but we are reaching the point where a federation is going to have to come in sooner rather than later.
* Carol Monaghan MP (SNP).