Politicians unite to honour fallen UK soldiers

By Tony Hudson and Alex Stevenson

Members of the government and opposition have paid tribute to the armed forces, as Britain marked Armistice Day with a two-minute silence this morning.

David Cameron led praise for service personnel in a video message used at the Royal British Legion's ceremony at Trafalgar Square.

"From the trenches of the First World War to the desert of Afghanistan our armed forces have proved time and again that they are the bravest of the brave and the very best of what it means to be British," the prime minister said.

"We can never fully repay the debt we owe them.

"But we can stop our busy lives, stand and remember honour what they have given for us and thank them for what they continue to do for us every day."

Defence secretary Philip Hammond paid his own tribute while visiting British troops in Afghanistan for an Armistice Day parade.

"The men and women of our armed forces are showing immense bravery every day and making sacrifices to protect us at home. Their professionalism is outstanding", he said.

Ed Miliband issued his own message of remembrance today, saying: "We honour the sacrifice and service of our brave armed forces and think of them, their families and friends.

"The whole country should take should take pride in the bravery and dedication of our forces", the Labour leader said, echoing the sentiment of the prime minister.

The poppy is worn by people in Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa in tribute to those lost during wartime.

This year's poppy appeal was marred by controversy as Mr Cameron challenged Fifa to allow England's football players to wear the poppy on their shirts for Saturday's game. The world football body eventually backed down.

"We all wear the poppy with pride, even if we do not approve of the wars in which people were fighting. We do it to honour the fact that those people sacrificed their lives for us", Mr Cameron said in Wednesday's prime minister's questions.