A NORTH-EAST MP has graduated from a scheme which gives politicians experience of the armed forces.

Sedgefield’s Labour MP Phil Wilson received a certificate after spending a year as a member of the the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme with the Royal Air Force.

He said: “It (the scheme) is a brilliant opportunity for Members of Parliament to see first hand how our military operates.

“We owe our armed services a debt of gratitude.

“They act with bravery and professionalism at all times and I am grateful for the opportunity to see how they operate at all levels in all circumstances.

“As we approach Armistice Day, the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War and the centenary of our RAF, I am especially proud to have been alongside our service men and women.

“Their sacrifice should always be remembered.”

He learned first hand about the work undertaken by services personnel at bases around the UK and the world as well as how the RAF operates strategically.

Mr Wilson spent more than 30 days on the cross-party scheme, which has been running for 30 years, visiting RAF bases across the country from RAF Leeming to RAF Marham, the home of the new F-35 stealth jets.

It also took him to the Falklands Islands, Romania and Cyprus.