More is known about so-called Jedis living in the UK than the country’s Armed Forces community, says MP Jason McCartney.

The Colne Valley MP is backing the Royal British Legion’s Count Them In campaign which is calling for questions on the Armed Forces community to be included in the next UK Census.

Ten per cent of the population are members of the Armed Forces community - up to 6.7million people.

But little is known about the exact numbers, location and needs of this significant group.

In the 2001 Census, over 390,000 people answered 'Jedi Knight' as their chosen religion, in honour of the rebels in the Star Wars films. Around 176,000 did the same in the 2011 census.

The Royal British Legion says that including new questions on the Armed Forces community would provide public bodies, local authorities and charities with valuable information to ensure they are able to deliver the best services they can for them.

Jason McCartney

After meeting RBL representatives, veterans and services members, Tory MP Mr McCartney said: “As an RAF veteran myself and as a proud member of the RBL branch in New Mill, it was a pleasure to meet the people who make huge sacrifices in the service of our country.

“I was very disappointed to learn that we currently know more about the UK’s Jedi community than we do about our Armed Forces. It cannot be right that our servicemen and women, veterans and their families are effectively hidden from official statistics, so I’m only too happy to back the call for new questions to be added to the next UK Census. We count on them – let’s count them in.”

Chris Simpkins, Director-General of The Royal British Legion, said: “As a nation we promise to provide lifelong care and support for those who serve our country. By adding questions to the 2021 UK Census, we can help public bodies and charities deliver the best services they can for our Armed Forces community, when and where it is needed most. We thank Jason for adding his support to our campaign. Together, I’m confident that we can make the next census count for our Armed Forces community.”

Constituents can find out more about the campaign by visiting the campaign website, , or by posting their own pledge of support on social media using the #CountThemIn hashtag.