The UK is sending 250 soldiers to Mali to join the UN peacekeeping mission in 2020. Mali faces considerable political, security and governance challenges, compounded by a military coup in August 2020. This Commons Library briefing paper looks at the deployment and the situation in Mali.
On 11 November 1918, an armistice between the Allied Powers and Germany was signed, ending the fighting on the western front during the First World War. The armistice was signed at 5am in a French railway carriage in Compiègne, and the guns stopped firing six hours later, at 11am. Under the terms of the armistice, Germany was to relinquish all the territory it had conquered since 1914, as well as Alsace-Lorraine. The Rhineland would be demilitarised, and the German fleet was to be interned in harbours of neutral countries or handed to the British. Announcing the terms in the House of Commons, the British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, expressed relief at the “end[ing of] the cruellest and most terrible war that has ever scourged mankind”.
The centenary of the signing of the armistice will be marked on 11 November 2018 by a series of events. The traditional national service of remembrance at the Cenotaph will take place, as well as the Royal British Legion’s veteran dispersal and march past the Cenotaph. The veterans’ parade will then be followed by a ‘people’s procession’ made up of 10,000 members of the public. During the day, church and other bells will ring out as they did in 1918 to mark the end of the war. The Government is supporting the Central Council of Church Bell Ringers to recruit 1,400 bell ringers (the number of bell ringers that were lost during the war). They will ring on armistice day alongside existing bell ringers across the country. The commemorations will conclude in the evening with a national service of thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey in London. Similar services will also take place in Glasgow, Cardiff and Belfast.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is leading Government plans to commemorate the First World War Centenary with a range of events and programmes.
In addition to the national events, other commemorative projects are continuing in 2018, such as the Victoria Cross paving stones programme, where commemorative stones are being laid for those who were awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War.
(Sarah Tudor, House of Lords Library)
The House of Commons Library will not produce a briefing for this debate, however, the House of Lords Library has produced a briefing for the debate due to take place on 5 November 2018 in the House of Lords.
The Government presented the Overseas Operations (Service Personnel and Veterans) Bill on 18 March 2020, thereby meeting its 100-day self imposed deadline. Second Reading has been scheduled for 23 September 2020. Aspects of the Bill are already generating controversy.
The government has announced it will not proceed with plans to introduce a new combat compensation scheme for armed forces personnel and veterans. This paper briefly explains the original proposals, concerns raised and the government's announcement.