Darlington’s MP, Peter Gibson, supported the Veterans Advisory and Pensions Committees Bill as it was debated and passed its third reading in the House of Common’s today.

This Private Members’ Bill was tabled by Robin Millar, the MP for Aberconwy today (Friday, March 24).

The purpose of the Bill is to ensure that the statutory functions of veterans advisory and pensions committees reflect and serve the needs of veterans as they are now, not as they were when the initial legislation was put in place.

There are 12 veterans advisory and pensions committees across the UK; nine in England, one in Scotland, and one each in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Read more: Pictures reveal progress of Darlington Railway Station's new car park

Their statutory function is to engage at a local level with war pensioners and armed forces compensation scheme recipients, and to make recommendations and representations to Government.

Speaking during this debate Mr Gibson paid tribute to the 2 million strong veteran community across the United Kingdom, saying: “They have given so much to our country, and give so much to our society, and so it is entirely right that we support them to the best of our ability.”

He went on to highlight and pay tribute to the large veteran community in Darlington.

For more quality journalism, subscribe to The Northern Echo for £1.50 a week here

Mr Gibson said: “My constituency of Darlington has a large veteran community, in part due to its proximity to Catterick.

“Since being elected I have had the opportunity to engage extensively with them, from individual one to one meetings in my constituency surgeries, to meeting the great guys in Darlington Royal British legion, and indeed see the fantastic work being undertaken at Plane Sailing, where veterans suffering from distress are working together to build a Viking long boat.”

Mr Gibson went on to invite James Heappey, the Minister for Armed Forces and Veterans, to see the work being done at Plane Sailing.

The bill secured cross party support, passing its third reading without the need for a division.

It will now continue its legislative journey passing through the House of Lords.