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The Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, abbreviated to AFPS, is a privately-run programme to give Member of Parliament in the United Kingdom experience of the armed forces. Its aim is to improve the quality of debate on military issues, and does this by exposing its members to first-hand experience of the service.[1]

It was founded in 1989 by Sir Neil Thorne, a former Conservative MP,[1] for the benefit of members of both houses of Parliament and those of all parties. It is sponsored by three defence companies — BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce, and AgustaWestland — which each contribute £45,000 a year.[2][3]

In 2008, Conservative MP Douglas Carswell was banned from the organisation after criticising the propriety of defence companies sponsoring it when he saw British soldiers under-equipped on the front line,[1] prompting questions about the programme's independence.[4] Sixteen MPs graduated from the AFPS in 2010,[5] and fifteen in 2009.[6] MPs that participate in the AFPS for a long time can receive medals and honorary titles.[2]


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