Here's the latest Argus column by Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith:

LAST week marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the naval, air and land assault which lead the campaign to liberate Europe from Nazi occupation.

The anniversary offers us all a chance to reflect on the remarkable scale of the landings, the extraordinary bravery of those involved, the thousands of lives lost that day and the lessons we can learn from history.

There are a wealth of events being held across Gwent to honour the anniversary.


In my constituency I recently attended the Royal British Legion’s laying up of the old standard in Ebbw Vale after which I had the chance to speak with veterans.

I also visited a D-Day exhibition at Abertillery Museum and attended a parade through Cwm on the weekend.

With Armed Forces Day also taking place later this month, what better time to consider the current situation of our armed forces.

It is important that we continue to support and do our best by currently serving armed forces members.

Something I have been concerned about is recruitment provision for the Army, which has been contracted out.

Last month I spoke in Parliament about data showing that the Welsh Guards 1st Battalion are 30 per cent below their target strength, which undermines the pledge to maintain the overall size of the armed forces and, I think, the defence of our country.

To boost army recruitment I think we need to bring it back in house for the future.

I have also been writing to businesses in Blaenau Gwent recently to encourage them to sign up to the Armed Forces Covenant and become ‘forces-friendly’ employers.

The Covenant is a pledge to those who have served that they will be treated fairly and when appropriate, will receive special consideration – focusing on support in areas like employment, education and through discounted services.

Although there is a great amount of support for the Covenant from those who are signed up, only 24 per cent of businesses have actually heard of it.

This month would be a fantastic time for local businesses to show their support and sign up.

Information about how to do this can be found on

the Armed Forces Covenant website