Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, paid a glowing tribute to the men and women serving in British Forces Cyprus (BFC) during his visit to the Bases this week.
The MP for Chorley took over the prestigious role in November 2019.
After making history as the first-ever sitting Speaker to make an official visit to Cyprus to address the House and meet with his Cypriot counterpart, Annita Demetriou, he was determined to thank military personnel for their ‘bravery and hard work’.
Sir Lindsay, an Honorary Colonel for 3 Medical Regiment, is a huge advocate for the Armed Forces.
His passion and pride for the work troops do in the UK and overseas was plain to see as he met with and spoke to troops in both Episkopi and RAF Akrotiri.
Speaking at the end of the three-day visit and shortly after a helicopter flight over the Western Sovereign Base Areas, he was quick to pay tribute to BFC personnel.
“The Sovereign Bases matter to me for my visit in Cyprus, this is global Britain at its best, this is our forwarding post, this is how we keep peace around the world.
“The expertise we have here, meeting soldiers, and the fact that many of those soldiers have also served in Afghanistan, it has been a big day for me, a very moving day, and it just shows the respect that we should have for the people who serve our country.”
Being on the ground and meeting military personnel was something Sir Lindsay relished.
“Parliament makes decisions that matter to the Armed Forces, and I want to be here to see the impact.
“I want to see the conditions that they are serving in, and I have to say that this is a fantastic Base.
“I have been on both Bases (Episkopi and RAF Akrotiri), and if I was serving, where would I want to be? I would want to be here in Cyprus.
“Why? Because this is part of global Britain, and this is our forwarding post.”
He was also keen to highlight the close relationship between the UK and the Republic of Cyprus, which he experienced first-hand during his visit.
“There is that connection with the people of Cyprus. This is an island; this is Government that works together; you cannot separate the two.”
The Speaker also drew some light-hearted parallels between his role in Westminster and the Armed Forces, and he joked that the politicians back in Parliament could learn a lot from the military.
“There is a lot more discipline in the Armed Forces than I could ever have in Parliament.
“They are a rowdy lot in Westminster, and a bit of discipline and a bit of boot camp might do them a lot of good.
“I try to keep good order with a bit of humour and strength, and it’s about earning respect.
“But when they want to be naughty, they are very naughty.”