Mr Lopresti’s big moment came during a debate on the Strategic Defence and Security Review on Monday (21st June), in which he urged the government to do more for the welfare of soldiers returning from conflict zones around the world.
The new MP, who took his seat in the chamber at 2:30pm on the day of the debate, described the wait before he was called to speak at 7:50pm as “nerve wracking” and says he was anxious “not to let anyone down”.
As tradition dictates, he opened his seven-minute speech with a message of thanks to his predecessor(s) – in his case, Doug Naysmith (Bristol North West) and Roger Berry (Kingswood).
Mr Lopresti then went on to reference some of the defence industries active in his “wonderful” constituency, including EADS, Airbus, Rolls Royce and GKN.
There was particular praise for the “new and fantastic” A400M military transport plane being developed by Airbus, which Mr Lopresti noted will have its debut in the south-west at the Royal International Air Tatoo at Fairford on 16th July.
Also warranting a mention were the University of the West of England (UWE) and Frenchay Hospital (of which Mr Lopresti said he would “continue to fight for its existence as a community hospital”).
Returning to defence matters, the new MP said (of soldiers returning from war zones around the world):
“… it is time for this country, and this Government, to take seriously the ongoing issue of the welfare and, in particular, the mental health of so many of our returning heroes.”
Mr Lopresti went on to relate some of his experiences as a serving Territorial Army soldier in Afghanistan before calling on the government to “honour their commitment to renew and strengthen the military covenant”.
- Full text of Jack Lopresti’s maiden speech (TheyWorkForYou.com)
- Video of Jack Lopresti’s maiden speech (TheyWorkForYou.com)
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