One of the great honours of being the Member of Parliament for Islwyn is to join with communities on Remembrance Sunday as we pay tribute to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. That is why I was delighted to be appointed Shadow Minister for Defence, in June.

My job is to scrutinise the government’s defence procurement plan, ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.

Central to this is the AJAX programme, which will deliver new armoured vehicles to the British Army. The main contractor is General Dynamics, based in Oakdale. When the contract was signed in 2015, it was a significant boost for both the local and Welsh economy.

It was deeply troubling when news reports emerged over the summer that trials of the vehicle have been paused after some personnel complained of vibration injuries and others suffered hearing loss.

So far, the programme has cost a staggering £3.5bn - an enormous sum for a failing government contract. The easy option would be to scrap AJAX. However, the project is estimated to involve 4,100 employees in 230 companies, including General Dynamics, so cancelling the contract would be devastating for all concerned.

As both the local MP and shadow defence minister, I sincerely hope a resolution can be found to the problems. I will do everything I can to protect those jobs.

It would take a heart of stone not to be moved by the images from Afghanistan in August as people rushed to leave the country before troops left. For those who served, and the families who lost loved ones, it was particularly sickening to watch the Taliban take control of the country they had fought so hard to defend from extremists and terrorism.

Like everyone else I watched events unfold at Kabul airport with a terrible sense of dread and foreboding. Such utter desperation to escape, waiting in sewers, sitting ducks for the terrorist attack that was to claim so many lives. They thought the West would protect them. We didn’t.

I recently heard a desperate Kabul citizen say on the radio that the people just want peace now more than democracy. I hope for him and all the others that the international community can exert enough pressure on the Taliban to uphold basic human rights, particularly for women. For the people of Afghanistan, it seems this is now their only hope.