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Chamber and committees

Meeting date: Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Meeting of the Parliament (Hybrid) 10 November 2021 [Draft]

Agenda: Portfolio Question Time, National Planning Framework, Fisheries Negotiations 2021, Point of Order, Business Motion, Parliamentary Bureau Motions, Decision Time, One Hundred Years of the Poppy in the UK, Correction


One Hundred Years of the Poppy in the UK

I remind members of the Covid-related measures that are in place and that face masks should be worn when moving around the chamber and around the Holyrood campus.

The final item of business is a members’ business debate on motion S6M-01536, in the name of Alexander Stewart, on 100 years of the poppy in the United Kingdom. The debate will be concluded without any question being put.

Motion debated,

That the Parliament acknowledges that the first annual Poppy appeal was launched in the UK in November 1921; understands that in excess of nine million poppies were manufactured for this event and that they sold out almost immediately; believes that this raised more than £106,000, the equivalent of over £5.3 million today; notes that the money was put to assisting veterans in finding jobs and homes; believes this was the birth of an enduring symbol of the nation’s gratitude for its veterans and helps provide them with a lifeline; acknowledges that, in Scotland, Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory opened in 1926 at a former wood-cutting factory in the grounds of Whitefoord House on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile; notes that it moved to the Warriston area of the capital in 1965; recognises that its team of 34 disabled veterans hand-produce more than five million poppies and 15,000 wreaths annually; notes that the team relocated to Redford Barracks in 2019 to allow substantial refurbishment work to be carried out at the Factory, returning this summer; believes that, with the help of sales by organisations such as Poppyscotland, the Royal British Legion, the Ancre Somme Association Scotland and myriad Armed Forces’ charities, this adoption as a symbol of charity right across the UK, including in the Mid-Scotland & Fife region, has seen the poppy transcend its purely metaphorical and commemorative status, additionally becoming a physical and palpable object with the single purpose of providing financial stability for men and women affected by war and conflict, and notes that people can also offer support by visiting the Poppyscotland website and purchasing from its pages at


I am delighted to have the opportunity to open this highly poignant members’ business debate. During the previous session of Parliament, I was extremely privileged to have been able to mark two significant military centenaries in the chamber. The opportunity of marking such an anniversary for the most all-encompassing symbol of remembrance for all those who served, and are still serving, in Her Majesty’s armed forces throughout the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, as well as for their families, is a special moment for me. I thank my fellow MSPs who supported my members’ business motion for allowing me this privilege.

The history of the poppy as a symbol of remembrance may not be as clear cut as has been previously assumed. The first reference to the poppy has been traced back to the Napoleonic wars. Several documents have been unearthed, noting that, following Napoleonic battles, poppies became abundant on the battlefields where soldiers had fallen. The same sources drew the first comparison between bloodstained individuals and the red colour of the poppy. As many of us know, the growth of the scarlet corn poppy is aided by massive disruption to the soil. Thus, the devastation of the natural environment caused by such conflicts saw fields littered with bodies alongside red poppies.

To fast-forward to modern times, while poppies remain more popular in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth countries, other nations have become involved. Actually, it may be an American, Moina Michael, who can be credited with the first charitable poppy sale. She worked for the overseas war secretaries office of the Young Men’s Christian Association in New York. She was so stirred by what is perhaps the most famous war poem of all time, “In Flanders Fields”, by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, that she vowed to pin a poppy to her lapel and swore always to wear one to honour the war dead. Using money that she had earned from the YMCA, she purchased 25 silk poppies and distributed them among her colleagues.

Moina Michael continued her endeavours to ensure that the poppy was adopted as a symbol of national remembrance, and the American Legion eventually adopted the poppy as an official symbol of remembrance two years later. The popularity of the new custom grew exponentially, and the tradition crossed the Atlantic.

A lady named Mme E Guérin had travelled from France to attend a conference of the American Legion, and she saw the sale of poppies as a great way to raise money for children who had suffered during the great war in France. She was quick to organise a team of French widows, who immediately began making paper poppies on an industrial scale. They made 1 million of them by 1921. Following the tremendous success of her poppy sales, Mme Guérin sent a delegation of poppy sellers to London in a bid to get the United Kingdom involved. Field Marshal Douglas Haig was highly enthusiastic about the idea that was put forward by Guérin’s delegates. To that end, the Royal British Legion adopted the poppy almost immediately, and the first-ever annual poppy day in the United Kingdom occurred on 11 November 1921, marking the third anniversary of armistice day. The poppy rapidly outgrew its American roots and was adopted by Canada and Australia in 1921 and by New Zealand a year later.

At that time, poppies intended for distribution in the UK were still made in France by war widows, but a factory opened in Bermondsey in 1922. The factory employed five disabled ex-military personnel to produce poppies all year round for distribution in the weeks prior to remembrance Sunday. The first official UK poppy appeal in 1921 raised £106,000, equivalent to almost £5.5 million today. The Royal British Legion now aims to make £25 million annually from the sale of poppies.

Here in Scotland, Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory opened in 1926 at a former woodcutting factory in the grounds of Whitefoord house, opposite this Parliament’s Queensberry house. It moved to the Warriston area of the city in 1965. Its team of 34 veterans proudly produce more than five million poppies and 15,000 wreaths annually. They relocated to Redford barracks in 2019 to allow substantial refurbishment work to be carried out at the factory, to which they began returning this summer.

The poppy’s enormous financial success and its adoption as a symbol of charity means that it has transcended its purely metaphorical and commemorative status. The red wildflower has become a physical, palpable object providing financial stability for those affected by war. That is a result of the tireless endeavours of volunteers from across the United Kingdom.

Poppy sales support the Royal British Legion, Poppyscotland and the Ancre Somme Association, for which I am proud to be the honorary ambassador for Scotland. I also hold the post of honorary president for the Ribbon of Poppies project.

I conclude by echoing the words of Canadian journalist Matt Gurney to those who accuse the red poppy of glorifying war:

“The red poppy is inherently a symbol of peace. Not just of peace as a concept—pleasant a concept as it is—but as the hard-won peace that hundreds of thousands ... earned at such great cost.”

The poppy is not a symbol of anyone’s victory. The flags of nations and countries or military ensigns all serve far more ably in that role. Neither is the poppy a symbol of military conquest or national glory. It is a natural reminder of the ravages of war and conflict. None of us needs to be reminded why the red poppy was chosen as the symbol of remembrance. Flanders field is a poignant place and it is because of that that we must, and will, always remember.


I congratulate Alexander Stewart on securing time for debate on this important anniversary.

In 1915, while the second battle of Ypres was raging, a Canadian medic, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, who was the grandson of Scottish immigrants from Kirkcudbrightshire, noticed how bright red poppies grew in the war-torn Flemish landscape. Despite the suffering around him, McCrae was inspired by the growing poppies to write the poem “In Flanders Field”, as Alexander Stewart pointed out. That poem, closely associated with the appalling losses of the first world war, is renowned throughout the world. It first appeared in Punch magazine and was quickly republished, becoming synonymous with the sacrifice of fallen soldiers everywhere.

Although the association between the poppy and conflict can be traced back to the Napoleonic wars, McRae’s poem inspired the adoption of the poppy as the flower of remembrance in Britain, France, Canada, the Commonwealth and the United States. In the aftermath of world war one, poppies came to symbolise the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in conflict, including an estimated 147,000 Scots, representing 14 per cent of the British empire’s total war dead at a time when barely 1 per cent of the empire’s population was Scottish.

Four of those who made the ultimate sacrifice were the Mochrie brothers, James, Matthew, Robert and Andrew, from Kilbirnie in my constituency, the town where I live and where their family lives on. Tragically, James, Matthew and Robert all died while serving in different regiments on the opening day of the battle of Loos on 25 September 1915. In that battle, Scots made up almost half of the 72 battalions that were deployed, and in barely three weeks, British casualties numbered 60,000. The fourth brother, Andrew, died later, on 9 June 1917, on the battlefield of Arras.

Although no graves of the men exist, all four brothers appear in bronze along with 155 others on Kilbirnie’s war memorial. A fifth Mochrie brother who served on a minesweeper survived, as did their sister, a Red Cross nurse, who sadly lost her son on the HMS Hood in the second world war.

So many soldiers lost their lives in the conflict, but tens of thousands died subsequently from wounds. My maternal grandmother lost her uncle, who was captured in 1918 and sent to the Silesian mines. A guard hit him with a shovel, and he died two years after returning home in 1921, aged 23. His name appears on no memorial.

My maternal grandfather was mustard gassed aged 18, a month before the end of the war. He died of emphysema at 41 years old, when my mother was only a toddler, his life inevitably shortened by his time in the trenches.

Demobbed soldiers often returned home struggling with psychological trauma as a result of the horrific scenes that they witnessed on the battlefields. Many also faced unemployment, poverty and homelessness.

Red silk poppies were first worn 100 years ago, not only to keep alive the memory of the servicemen and women who died, but because their production offered employment to men who had been disabled during world war one, while proceeds were used to help other veterans with employment and housing.

Of course, the great war to end all wars, as it was known a century ago, was not the last, and Scotland’s Lady Haig Poppy Factory, which is still there today, provides dignity through work to 34 mainly disabled veterans, who, between them, have seen service from Korea to the Persian Gulf.

Money raised provides invaluable assistance to Scotland’s armed forces community, ranging from local signposting, housing, mental health, mobility employment and financial support, while Poppyscotland’s important advocacy work highlights the experience of serving personnel, veterans and their families.

Together with the Royal British Legion, Poppyscotland has long campaigned for the UK Government to scrap fees for military personnel from the Commonwealth, and their families, who wish to stay in the UK once they leave service. I wish them success in that campaign.

The 100th anniversary of the first poppy appeal makes us reflect and remember those from Scotland and beyond who gave their lives in world war one and the many conflicts since. Behind each statistic lies a human story of a life taken, often at a young age, such as those of Kilbirnie’s own Mochrie brothers. We are all indebted to their sacrifice, and it is our duty to ensure that veterans and their families have access to the services and support that they need.

Once again, I congratulate Alexander Stewart on bringing this important commemoration of Poppyscotland’s 100th anniversary to the chamber.


I congratulate my friend Alexander Stewart on securing this important debate at such an important time.

In the run-up to remembrance Sunday, we all reflect on what has gone before us, and the sacrifice made by many servicemen and women in two world wars and other conflicts around the globe. We wear our poppies with pride. I say that as someone who represents the Highlands and Islands region, which has many strong military links. My area of Moray is home to RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss barracks. In communities across Scotland, such as Moray, we can see the support for our current military personnel, and the active role that they play, and the many veterans who are among us in the communities that we represent.

Earlier today, I was at the Lothian veterans centre in Dalkeith to see the outstanding work that Ian Stewart and his team do there. They have a drop-in centre just off the High Street, which is extremely busy. I went along to one of the centre’s events today, and it was encouraging to see the support that is available to our veterans, although there is more that we can do.

As Alexander Stewart and Kenny Gibson did, I pay tribute to the work of the Lady Haig Poppy Factory. We are all seeing that work with the poppies that we are wearing and the wreaths that we will lay later this week. I congratulate everyone who is involved on the work that they do with the charity and Poppyscotland.

I also want to use my time today to speak about one individual in particular. Sir Alistair Irwin, who is a Moray constituent of mine, has been the president of Poppyscotland for 15 years, and he was at the launch of the Poppyscotland appeal here in the Scottish Parliament a couple of weeks ago. This will be his final appeal as president of Poppyscotland. As he has given so much service over such a long period of time to Poppyscotland and the Royal British Legion, I think that it is right that we in the Parliament say thank you to Sir Alistair for his efforts, not only over a few weeks, months or years but for well over a decade and a half. [Applause.]

That commitment to the armed forces started with Sir Alistair’s own career. He joined the Black Watch in 1970 and retired from the army in 2005. However, people like Sir Alistair never really retire. His contribution to the armed forces and the work that he does for veterans across Scotland and the United Kingdom has continued ever since. He has been the president of Royal British Legion Scotland and Poppyscotland since 2006, and he is the president of Scotland’s Officers Association. Between 2006 and 2011, he also served as the president of Veterans Scotland, and he was vice-chairman of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Whenever anyone meets and speaks to Sir Alistair, they can see the passion that he takes to the Poppyscotland role. Many people take on the role only for a year or two, but he has done it for 15 years, which shows just how important it is to him.

It is also important for us to say what Sir Alistair has achieved over that time. He has brought a lot of professionalism to the organisations with which he has worked. He has changed those organisations significantly and we have all benefited from his work over such a long time.

Sir Alistair regularly volunteers to sell poppies in Moray. He is not only at the top of the organisation; he wants to get out with other volunteers to help collect the funds. As Alexander Stewart mentioned, communities have raised many millions of pounds by selling poppies.

The Royal British Legion motto is “Service not self”. Sir Alistair Irwin embodies that motto, as does every single volunteer who, at this time of the year, sells the poppies that we all wear with pride. We thank Sir Alistair and every single one of them for the work that they continue to do.

I add my personal recognition of the contribution that Sir Alistair Irwin has made.


I congratulate my colleague and friend Alexander Stewart on securing this members’ business debate. It is fitting that this topic is the subject of a members’ business debate, which I will come back to.

I echo Douglas Ross’s words and extend my thanks and congratulations—and the well-deserved rest that is possibly coming—to Sir Alistair Irwin. I also thank Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory, the 34 veterans it currently helps and the many veterans it has helped over time.

I would like to take this short time to put on record the various poppy designs of the countries that have been referred to, and why the poppy is so important to them.

In Scotland, we have four petals with a black centre. We used to have a leaf, but it was removed to make the poppy easier to post. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the poppy has two petals with a black centre. Some of the poppies have a leaf, which is often said to reflect the addition of the events of world war two.

In the USA, people wear a poppy on memorial day, which is on the last Monday in May. It has a crêpe-paper style but with a green centre. In Australia, they remember on Anzac day, on 25 April, and they have a single red corrugated petal. In New Zealand, they have a similar design to Australia, but they choose to lose the corrugation and have it flat.

I raise that because, at its heart, the poppy reflects the thoughts of individuals. It reflects differences, but it also reminds people of a similarity: tragic loss; a memory of generations; and a memory of individuals who have paid the ultimate sacrifice or who, as Kenneth Gibson rightly said, have returned bearing scars, some of which are invisible. One of the powerful images of the poppy is that, although it may look different to different people around the world, what is felt inside is the same. That is thanks for a gift that others, whom they might not even know, have given. I welcome the opportunity for us in the chamber to extend our thanks to those people and to the volunteers who stand in the rain selling the poppies.

At the weekend, my son visited the cinema. He told me that he and his friends rushed around trying to find a sea cadet who could sell them a poppy. Although the sea cadets were having lunch, one of them stood up, put his burger to one side and offered them a poppy to wear. Those individual acts of young people speak of such great hope, arising as they do from such tragedy, which is moving further and further into the past.

I would like to say to young people that Poppyscotland gives opportunities for everyone to take part by using a variety of fund-raising methods. People can challenge themselves. The Poppyscotland sportive, which takes place in September, has people ride their bike one of three distances around the beauty of East Lothian, ending up in my home town of Prestonpans. If they are feeling very brave, they can take on the 102-mile route down into the Borders and back. I am astounded at the ability of cyclists to do that, and I am enormously proud that they do so to raise money for our veterans and their families. Through Poppyscotland, we see that work day in, day out. For that, I say thank you.


It is a pleasure and a privilege to follow Martin Whitfield, who gave an excellent speech. I also congratulate my friend and colleague Alexander Stewart on securing the debate.

For 100 years, the poppy has been our nation’s symbol of gratitude for and remembrance of our veterans and those who could rightly say:

“For your tomorrow, we gave our today”.

As we all know, the poppy is also a symbol of hope, life and freedom from the horrors and destruction of the first world war, although the war to end all wars it was not to be.

The first world war cost the lives of more than 800,000 British and Commonwealth servicemen—men and boys from these islands and from far-flung parts of the then empire. Like many of you, I have stood at the Menin gate at Ypres and at the Thiepval memorial and read the names of the thousands of men and boys—sons, brothers, boyfriends, fiancés and husbands—missing with no known burial place. It is humbling, it is moving and it is upsetting.

My family, like many of yours, has graves in Flanders and in France; my great-uncles lie there. There is something powerful and poignant about the rows of headstones in those immaculate war cemeteries. In 1922, King George V visited Tyne Cot cemetery and looked out over the rows of thousands of wooden crosses that had been planted in memory of the fallen. He said:

“I have many times asked myself whether there can be more potent advocates of peace upon the Earth through the years to come, than this massed multitude of silent witnesses to the desolation of war.”

After the fighting ended, the poppy grew in the churned-up foreign battlegrounds. With its blood-red colour, it quickly came to represent the immeasurable sacrifice of a generation, and it was formally adopted, as has been said, by the Royal British Legion in 1921 as a symbol of remembrance of all those who died in the first world war and later conflicts.

I believe that there is another layer to the symbolism of the poppy. After such horror and death on such a grand scale, life re-emerges. The sacrifice of the fallen and the loss and pain of their families should not be in vain. Therefore, on the record of our Parliament, I humbly express my personal gratitude and the feelings of, I am sure, so many more people in Central Scotland for the work of Poppyscotland; for those who make the annual Scottish poppy appeal possible; for the service of the veterans at Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory, who make millions of poppies and thousands of wreaths; for the many hundreds of volunteers who, over the generations from 1921 to the present day, have sold poppies and made collections; and for the many businesses, organisations and individuals who see that the poppy continues to be prominently displayed each year.

I say to our veterans and their families, and to those who continue to serve our country in the uniform of Her Majesty’s armed forces at risk of life and limb: thank you for your vigilance and your service; because of what you do for us—day in, day out, every single day—we are free.

We need to remember. We need to remember 100 years of the poppy and 100 years of caring. It must never end, because remembrance and the poppy are a mark of who we are and the people we have become.

I call Keith Brown to respond to the debate. Cabinet secretary, you have around seven minutes, please.


I thank Alexander Stewart for securing this members’ business debate to mark the centenary of Poppyscotland’s iconic poppy appeal. It is clear, from the contributions that we have heard, that, across the chamber, we are unanimous in recognising the formidable work of Poppyscotland over the past 100 years and its dedication to and support for our armed forces community.

Alexander Stewart rightly mentioned the symbolism of the poppy, but he also mentioned the practical benefits that accrue from people buying poppies and from the work of Poppyscotland, which is the real point of Poppyscotland.

The remembrance period, which we are currently in, serves a vital purpose in allowing everybody in Scotland a moment to pause, reflect and be thankful to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. It is very important that we to continue to remember those who served and lost their lives in all conflicts—as Alexander Stewart said, not to glorify war but to recognise the sacrifice that was made to protect the freedoms and the way of life that we hold so dear.

The poppies that we wear, which were inspired, as we heard from Kenneth Gibson, by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae’s poem “In Flanders Fields”, which was written during the first world war, are a tangible symbol of remembrance and of the enduring courage, loyalty and commitment of our regulars and reservists. That shows that, after 100 years, no matter how much time may pass, we will never forget their sacrifices or those made by their families and loved ones.

I was delighted to attend the launch of the 2021 poppy appeal in Parliament at the end of last month—which was also mentioned by Douglas Ross—to hear at first hand how it has evolved over the past 100 years, no more so than in the past 18 months, with increasingly innovative approaches to raising funds and the absolute necessity of that in the face of the pandemic. Increasingly, and exclusively now for many people, payments are being made digitally. Sir Alistair Irwin had some problems with the move to digitising the poppy appeal, but I am sure that that digitalisation will only strengthen it.

The Scottish poppy appeal is Poppyscotland’s largest fundraising event, and all the money that is raised goes to the armed forces community here, in Scotland, to provide support in six key areas: finance, advice, employment, mobility, housing and mental health. The appeal’s success relies on the dedication and hard work of the 10,000 volunteers across Scotland. Without them, it would be impossible to raise the vital funds that are used to deliver support to former service personnel and their families.

For that reason and for many others, I give my personal thanks to the dedicated Poppyscotland staff and volunteers for all that they do—as Sir Alistair did when he spoke at the event that has been mentioned. Stephen Kerr was there, too. The work that has been done by some individuals—I am thinking of one or two of the people who received awards that night—has been absolutely phenomenal. That includes, of course, the devoted team of 34 disabled veterans based at New Haig house, who hand produce more than 2 million poppies and 10,000 wreaths every year.

The poppy appeal and the commemorative events serve a vital purpose for the people of Scotland in allowing time for reflection on the sacrifices that have been made to protect our freedoms. As we all know, Scotland has a large and vibrant armed forces community, and the role of the charity sector is essential in delivering valuable support to veterans right across Scotland. I am sure that I speak for everyone in the chamber today when I extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who supports the various charities in whatever way they can.

Since I first took responsibility for the veterans portfolio, in previous ministerial roles, and, more recently, since being appointed the Cabinet Secretary for Justice and Veterans, I have been fortunate and humbled to hear directly about the experiences of veterans in our community, including the vital assistance that veterans receive from third sector organisations.

For our part, the Scottish Government remains committed to supporting our veterans community. We recognise that veterans and their families are true assets to their communities, their employers and wider society. That includes war widows, who have given so much. I am honoured to be representing the Scottish Government at the War Widows’ Association annual service of remembrance at the cenotaph in London this weekend, although I will not be able to stay for the festival of remembrance, which I think is also celebrating a 100-year anniversary, because I will be returning to Glasgow to attend the remembrance event there on Sunday. We remain committed to those remembrance events.

In the chamber tomorrow, I will provide Parliament with an update on the Scottish Government’s continued support for our veterans and armed forces community, which will include a focus on remembrance commemorations.

I will say a few words about some of the points that have been made in the debate. We heard some very interesting accounts from Alexander Stewart, Kenneth Gibson and Martin Whitfield on the origins of the poppy as a symbol. Kenneth Gibson mentioned the incredible story of the four brothers called Mochrie, who were from Ayrshire. To think that four brothers from the same family were all killed in the war—the sacrifice was truly astonishing.

I was interested to hear Douglas Ross talk about the Lothians veterans centre, mainly because it is a centre that I have visited before. He mentioned Ian Stewart. Ian is a friend of mine, and he has been involved in the veterans centre just along the road from the Parliament. We served together in 45 Commando during the Falklands war. I should mention that he is also a former editor of The Scotsman. He has done some fantastic work with veterans.

I associate myself with the comments that have been made about the contribution that Sir Alistair Irwin has made over many years. I have stood at many remembrance events with him. The work that he has done has been tremendous, and we should remember it. Like Douglas Ross, I am fairly certain that Sir Alistair will still be seen at remembrance events, in Moray and elsewhere, when he has the chance to attend them. Something of a hole will be left in his life, and he admitted as much to me when I spoke with him recently at the remembrance event in Princes Street gardens.

Martin Whitfield made an important point about differences in poppies. Some time ago, I wrote an article about that issue, which could have been construed as being contentious. The point of it was that it really does not matter what colour or design of poppy people wear; they have the same intent. However, I would make the more contentious point that that is also true if somebody does not wear a poppy. I always wear a red poppy because I know that the money is going to a cause that I am very keen to see supported, but others do not want to, and we have to remember that the people we are commemorating fought those wars so that people would have a choice about what they do—which includes not wearing a poppy if they do not want to. I would encourage everyone to wear a poppy, but I respect the rights of those who do not want to wear one, whatever their reason. Martin Whitfield drew out some of the differences that we have, but he said that we all feel the same in our hearts about what we are trying to commemorate.

Stephen Kerr, Alexander Stewart and I have together attended a number of events at Bridge of Allan and elsewhere, and I have visited many of the places that Stephen Kerr talked about, including the Menin Gate at Ypres, Contalmaison, Arras and so on. He also talked about the poignancy of some of the graveyards, which are incredible to witness. It is good to see so many schools taking battlefield tours over the years, because they drive the subject home to young people, who are often particularly interested when they see the graves of people who were 17 or 18 years old when they died.

When I go to those cemeteries, my inclination is to go to their furthest points and find the graves that say “A soldier known only unto God”. It is really poignant that the families of those people do not have a physical place to go to remember them, as Kenneth Gibson said about the Mochrie brothers. The point is that we should continue to remember—we should never forget, not least because we should not allow that kind of event to happen again.

I close today’s debate by offering my congratulations to Poppyscotland as it marks the centenary of the poppy appeal. It deserves every plaudit that it has received tonight in the chamber, and, like other members, I have every reason to be proud of its achievements.

Meeting closed at 17:37.