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MP backs bid to save our Fusiliers
AN eleventh hour campaign to save 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (2RRF) has been backed by Bury North MP David Nuttall.
During a debate in the House of Commons, Mr Nuttall said the people of Bury were concerned that not enough reservists would be recruited to fill “the massive hole” that will be left by the disbandment of the 2nd Battalion.
MPs voted 92 to nil for a motion noting concerns about the Government’s defence reforms in relation to whether its proposals for the reserve forces will deliver cost savings or defence capability.
The motion urged the Government to delay the disbandment of regular units until it is established that the Army Reserve plan is viable and cost-effective.
Under controversial plans, 20,000 regular soldiers are to be replaced by 30,000 reservists.
Among the units earmarked to be disbanded is 2RRF, an armoured infantry unit of 600 soldiers.
Speaking during the debate, Mr Nuttall said: “This matter is one of enormous importance to my constituents in Bury.
“Bury has long been a productive recruiting ground for the Fusiliers.
“The people of Bury are extremely proud of the town’s links with the Fusiliers.
“In the summer, Bury Parish Church played host to the funeral of Drummer Lee Rigby — a Fusilier.
“We must never lose sight of the reason why the Government have had to make these difficult decisions.
“It is right that the defence budget must be balanced; no one disputes that.
“It is nevertheless prudent constantly to review the plans that the Government have put in place and monitor them to ensure that they are on track and that they will deliver the planned savings.
“My constituents are understandably angry and disappointed that the 2nd Battalion is being disbanded at a time when there is so much uncertainty in the world.”
Mr Nuttall continued: “The 2nd Battalion is one of the best — if not the best — recruited battalions in the British Army.
“My constituents ask why Scottish battalions, which are much more poorly manned, are being retained when the 2nd Battalion is being disbanded.
“They wonder whether the answer has anything to do with the impending referendum on independence for Scotland.”
Speaking after the vote, Mr Nuttall said he hoped that the Government would listen carefully to the concerns that had been expressed during the debate.
He said there were genuine worries that the plan to increase the number of reserves would not be easily achieved “within the current timetable”.
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