03 May 2024

PM congratulates young Paras for serving the country at a ‘dangerous time’

03 May 2024

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has told young paratroopers “you have stepped forward to serve your country at a dangerous time”, but added: “We’ll have your back throughout.”

Mr Sunak inspected soldiers from Falklands Platoon, Parachute Regiment, as they passed out after their basic infantry training at Catterick Garrison, in North Yorkshire, on Friday.

He told the parade: “You have stepped forward to serve your country at a dangerous time. War has returned to Europe. Threats are rising around the world.

“So your service is more meaningful than ever and I’m determined that the country should serve you as well as I know that you’ll serve us.”

Mr Sunak said: “We’ll give you the capabilities that you need to fight.”

He added: “We’ll have your back throughout.”

The Prime Minister told the young soldiers: “You have done something that few would attempt and fewer still can achieve.

“You have put yourself through the toughest test there is anywhere in the world, and you have passed.”

He said: “On behalf of the whole country, I am here to say congratulations. I have nothing but respect and admiration for each and every one of you.”

Mr Sunak told the paratroopers and their families, who had gathered for the passing-out parade, that he was proud to have the garrison in his constituency.

He recalled how, in 2021, he managed to cross the P Company Trainasium – the famous 60ft high test all paratroopers must complete.

“It’s perhaps one of the most scary things I have ever done and it’s definitely the most worried that I have ever seen my police protection officers,” he told the parade.

“I’ve had a glimpse, no more than that, but a glimpse of what you have overcome.”

The Prime Minister inspected the troops, who now move on to jump training, with the regiment’s Colonel Commandant, Lieutenant General Andrew Harrison, who was attending his last parade, after 34 years’ service.

Mr Sunak told the young paratroopers: “You couldn’t ask for a better archetype of courage and leadership.”

He also praised Falklands veterans from the Paras, who watched the parade and whom he met before the event.

The Prime Minister said: “I want to pay sincere tribute to all of them. The nation is in their debt.”

Mr Sunak presented awards to the top paratroopers in the platoon and was introduced to the regimental mascot – he gave Pegasus V, a Shetland pony, a stroke on the nose.

In his speech, Lt Gen Harrison told the Prime Minister: “No-one can under-estimate the unique responsibility that you hold in relation to the lives of these young soldiers.

“When ordered, they will do anything for this country, and we wish you all-possible wisdom and courage in executing that profound duty.”

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