MP inspired in Afghanistan

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A FORMER Army officer who has become South Yorkshire’s newest MP has revealed he was first inspired to run for Parliament while serving in Afghanistan.

Dan Jarvis, aged 38, a major in the Parachute Regiment, and now MP for Barnsley Central, has taken up his seat in the House of Commons.

He was led in by Labour Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher and Penistone and Stocksbridge MP Angela Smith before vowing his allegiance to the Queen and signing the MPs’ register.

Mr Jarvis told The Star he had been interested in politics for a long time, after joining the Labour Party 20 years ago while at the University of Wales.

But his passion took a back seat after becoming ‘committed to a career in the Army’ after his graduation, a 15-year stint in which he said he ‘took some significant risks for this country’.

He became a platoon commander with 3 Para, serving in Kosovo in 1999.

Other deployments included Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone and Iraq.

He said: “It was in 2005, while I was in Afghanistan, that I remember seeing the UK general election results come up on the television.

“At that point I decided that, having always been a Labour supporter, I wanted to ease out of the Army and aim for a career in politics.

“Then the nature of my wife Caroline’s illness meant it was going to be more difficult to serve.

“After her death from cancer last year, as the father of two young children I couldn’t have served in Afghanistan or on other operations, so I decided it was time to look at doing my public service another way.”