The House

How to join the Armed Forces Parliament­ary Scheme

- Lieutenant Colonel Johnny Longbottom Chief of staff, Armed Forces Parliament­ary Trust

Aim. The AFPS – the military can’t get enough of abbreviati­ons – aims to give Members, the vast majority of whom have no experience of our Armed Forces, an insight into military life that would not otherwise be available to them. It is hoped that having been on the scheme, Members will be able to make more informed and useful contributi­ons to future defence debates. Our website – – will explain more.

How it works. The AFPS is administer­ed from within Parliament under the chairmansh­ip of James Gray MP. It is fully endorsed and resourced by the Ministry of Defence in the form of a staff officer from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force.

What you will do. Having made the choice of the Royal Navy, Army or Royal Air Force course, you will join that course and undertake a series of visits to military bases both in the UK and overseas. The new AFPS will start in September and finish in July 2023 during which time you will have been expected to complete a minimum of 15 days of visits/activities. Formal recognitio­n of this commitment takes place in the form of a graduation dinner attended by senior military officers and defence ministers. Fitness – excellent or less so. The AFPS is very much a hands-on experience and PowerPoint will be kept to an absolute minimum! There will be lots of opportunit­ies to get stuck in (but nothing too strenuous) but at no point would you be asked to do anything that you wished not to.

How to apply. Recruiting for the AFPS 2022-23 is already underway but there is still time to apply. You can email me for an applicatio­n form at longbottom­j@ but please don’t delay. The AFPS experience is like no other and one that will stay with you throughout your parliament­ary career and beyond.

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