Labour's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan stretched the Army to its limit, special forces veteran Dan Jarvis has admitted as he tries to become the party's MP in the Barnsley Central by-election on Thursday.
The widower spent 15 years in the Army, including serving as a Parachute Regiment company commander in Afghanistan's Helmand province in 2003. But he quit last month to stand as an MP. Labour had a majority of 11,000 at the general election.
Mr Jarvis said: "If you look back at 2006, the Army was running hot. The tempo was such that the Army was stretched to its limit."
He added that he feels "let down" by the Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, who "banged on about the the military covenant" in opposition but has "done nothing about it" since entering government.