This week Royal Marines who have recently served in Afghanistan marched through the gates into Parliament.

They were welcomed and cheered by MPs from all parties.

Leading the parade was Brigadier Gordon Messenger, the former Commanding Officer of 40 Commando in Taunton Deane.

Some protesters camped outside Parliament booed and heckled the parade of Royal Marines.

That was wrong. There are clearly different opinions about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Everyone also has the right to protest in a free country.

But there is a clear distinction between disagreeing with the Government's foreign policy and the disgraceful vilification of our troops.

The bravery and professionalism of the Royal Marines is inspirational. Their service to our country should be admired and respected.

I am a vice-chairman of the all-party Parliamentary Royal Marines group. It is important that MPs maintain close links with the Royal Marines.

The terrible state of our national finances means the budget for the armed forces will be further stretched.

I do not believe we should be going ahead with a full-scale, like-for-like replacement of the Trident nuclear weapons system.

Instead I want the priority to be recruiting, retaining, training and equipping our frontline forces.

The Royal Marines provide the flexibility and excellence that is needed to confront the threats from terrorism and rogue states that threaten Britain's security.