The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Manifesto for the Westminster General Election 2015 supports a strong UK defence, with defence spending not falling below 2% of GDP, and argues that the next Strategic Defence and Security Review should ensure that our Armed Forces should be capable of undertaking multiple deployments, whether as part of a multinational force or on our own. It also says that the Military Covenant should be implemented fully "and in an equivalent manner" in all parts of the UK.
But what is the DUP policy on representation for armed forces personnel?
Service personnel representation is not mentioned in the current DUP Manifesto. But senior party figures have on several occasions in previous years affirmed their support for representation. In addition to other DUP replies to BAFF members in Northern Ireland, the late Dr Ian R K Paisley MP MLA a front bench DUP spokesman replied to the BAFF Chairman in late 2008 confirming that "You can be reassured of our continued support."
It seems reasonable to suppose that the DUP, once reminded of the British Armed Forces Federation proposals and satisfied once again that they are sensible and consistent with armed forces cohesion and effectiveness, may be prepared to support personnel representation in the next Parliament.
BAFF and the General Election
BAFF encourages its members, and others in the armed forces community, to register to vote, and then to exercise their own voting choice in any election or referendum. British Armed Forces Federation's political neutrality is not only hard-wired into its Constitution, but also demonstrated by its consistent track record while operating in the public arena and online over more than eight years. BAFF continues to build cross-party support for the principle of service personnel representation, and remains available for consultation by any registered political parties or candidates.