MP is campaigning for the Red Arrows to stay in Lincolnshire

Sleaford and North Hykeham Mp Dr Caroline Johnson with a Red Arrow at No.10 Downing Street. Images supplied.
Sleaford and North Hykeham Mp Dr Caroline Johnson with a Red Arrow at No.10 Downing Street. Images supplied.

A campaign to keep the Red Arrows in Lincolnshire and represent the local RAF in Parliament has been launched by MP Dr Caroline Johnson.

The Sleaford and North Hykeham MP has recently graduated from the RAF programme of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme.

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The scheme has been running for more than 20 years and enables politicians to spend time with one of the service branches of the military during one year.

As part of this, Dr Johnson visited air bases both in the UK and abroad - from the Falklands Islands and Cyprus to RAF Valley in Wales and those in the Sleaford area.

In a statement, she said: “I decided to take part in the scheme because of the large military presence in Sleaford and North Hykeham, with a number of bases both in and immediately adjacent to the constituency. Given this, I wanted to make sure I had the knowledge and skills to be able to represent military personnel and their families effectively.

“Through this experience I am far better placed to discuss policy that impacts on the armed forces, including in Lincolnshire, which will make me a more effective representative of our area in Westminster.

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“Lincolnshire is the proud home of so much of our air force and its heritage. In this centenary year of the RAF, I have had the privilege of visiting local RAF bases at Cranwell, Digby, Scampton, Waddington, Coningsby, Syerston and Wyton.

“I learned about how we are training the UK’s next generation of fighter pilots, and how the incredible support teams of engineers and technicians on the ground keep them ready to go at a moment’s notice.

“I learned about the importance of good, reliable intelligence and gained a better understanding of a whole variety of specialist aircraft.

“Following the announcement of the closure of RAF Scampton, the Red Arrows will need a new home, and the professionalism and capabilities I have seen on show in bases across our county clearly illustrate their home should stay here. I will continue to lobby for the Red Arrows to remain in Lincolnshire.”

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Dr Johnson met the Secretary of State last week to discuss her concerns for the Red Arrows further.

As part of her tour of the UK bases, Dr Johnson also met service leads at RAF Shrivenham to discuss the strategic vision for protecting UK land, sea, air, cyber and space, and visited RAF bases in the Falklands and Cyprus.

She added: “The diverse range of threats we face today means it has never been more important for politicians to understand the issues and challenges our forces face. In taking part in this scheme I’ve gained a clearer understanding of how the armed forces operate and an even greater appreciation for our brave men and women in uniform.”