MP John Baron slams army cuts in Parliament

A SOUTH Essex MP who used to be in the army has slammed the impending cuts in an impassioned speech in the House of Commons.

John Baron, who represents Basildon and Billericay, said the decisions on battalion disbandment have been made on the basis of “flawed political calculations, not military strategy”.

He spoke out as he led a debate calling for a u-turn on plans to scrap 2nd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (2RRF).

Five infantry battalions are due to go under the Army 2020 strategy, which will see regular Army numbers cut from 102,000 to 82,000.

Mr Baron, a former captain in the Fusiliers, said the Government has declined to shut Scottish battalions with much worse recruiting records - in a flawed bid to promote the benefits of the United Kingdom to Scottish voters.

Wearing the Fusiliers' regimental tie, addressed the Commons with scores of veterans looking on from the public gallery.

Around 400 members of the Fusiliers marched to Westminster ahead of the debate to the tune of a military band and wearing berets with distinctive red and white hackles on Thursday.

He said: "The Government is wrong. Military logic and not political calculation should determine Army cuts.

"I'm a firm believer in the Union but this is not the way to achieve it. In my view, the Government's culpability is demonstrated by its reluctance to justify its decision. The evidence has been damning."

Mr Baron won applause from the observers following his speech - highly unusual in the Commons but audible through the glass screen shielding the chamber from the public benches.

Mr Baron told MPs he had investigated the decisions of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) through Parliamentary questions and freedom of information requests.

He said the results clearly demonstrated 2RRF had both a strong recruitment record and encouraging demographics in its home areas.

This was not the case for regiments in Scotland, Mr Baron said, which have struggled to maintain force numbers.

The Conservative MP said he was not in favour of any cuts to the Army but that if changes to force structure do need to be made they had to be made for sound military reasons in a dangerous world.

He added: "I do have severe doubts about the extent of the cuts to the Army and the armed forces generally.

"The first duty of Government is national security, we must never forget that. The Foreign Secretary has reminded us the range of threats and dangers is, if anything, increasing.

"Many countries not necessarily friendly to the west are increasing their defence spending and much as I respect the Territorial Army, having been on operations with them, I question the extent to which we are asking the TA to step up to the plate, to plug the gap left by the loss of regular battalions.

"Yet, I'm sad to say this coalition Government is continuing to cut defence spending, which has halved in the last 20 years and it continues to go down."

Comments (9)

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10:40am Sun 21 Oct 12

GentleGiant says...

Cuts in the Army will only affect those who thought they joined for a job for life and free board and lodging. An easy way of life.

These cuts are required.
Cuts in the Army will only affect those who thought they joined for a job for life and free board and lodging. An easy way of life. These cuts are required. GentleGiant

10:50am Sun 21 Oct 12

noj says...

GentleGiant wrote:
Cuts in the Army will only affect those who thought they joined for a job for life and free board and lodging. An easy way of life. These cuts are required.
Stupid uneducated comment. When you serve in the armed forces, as well as a the usual hmrc deductions, board and lodging is also deducted, calculated at a daily rate
[quote][p][bold]GentleGiant[/bold] wrote: Cuts in the Army will only affect those who thought they joined for a job for life and free board and lodging. An easy way of life. These cuts are required.[/p][/quote]Stupid uneducated comment. When you serve in the armed forces, as well as a the usual hmrc deductions, board and lodging is also deducted, calculated at a daily rate noj

1:44pm Sun 21 Oct 12

edgun says...

Well done John Baron as ex 3RRF in Basildon I agree that 2RRF should stay,
"Cuts in the Army will only affect those who thought they joined for a job for life and free board and lodging. An easy way of life."

I spent 3 tours in NI in the 70's doing 18-20 hrs per day for 4months at a time if you think thats an easy life .please feel free to enlist ,
Well done John Baron as ex 3RRF in Basildon I agree that 2RRF should stay, "Cuts in the Army will only affect those who thought they joined for a job for life and free board and lodging. An easy way of life." I spent 3 tours in NI in the 70's doing 18-20 hrs per day for 4months at a time if you think thats an easy life .please feel free to enlist , edgun

8:54pm Sun 21 Oct 12

Olivia2847 says...

GentleGiant wrote:
Cuts in the Army will only affect those who thought they joined for a job for life and free board and lodging. An easy way of life.

These cuts are required.
Shame on you ....
[quote][p][bold]GentleGiant[/bold] wrote: Cuts in the Army will only affect those who thought they joined for a job for life and free board and lodging. An easy way of life. These cuts are required.[/p][/quote]Shame on you .... Olivia2847

8:58pm Sun 21 Oct 12

Olivia2847 says...

Reported on Wednesday appears in The Echo on Sunday? What would Bosniavet say? And me too - to all you knockers out there who have been remfs and never had any military service - I suggest you watch programmes such as The Soldiers Story BBC 1 or attended a repatriation to realise the sacrifices that our boys are making - otherwise STFU!
Reported on Wednesday appears in The Echo on Sunday? What would Bosniavet say? And me too - to all you knockers out there who have been remfs and never had any military service - I suggest you watch programmes such as The Soldiers Story BBC 1 or attended a repatriation to realise the sacrifices that our boys are making - otherwise STFU! Olivia2847

10:19pm Sun 21 Oct 12

GentleGiant says...

noj wrote:
GentleGiant wrote:
Cuts in the Army will only affect those who thought they joined for a job for life and free board and lodging. An easy way of life. These cuts are required.
Stupid uneducated comment. When you serve in the armed forces, as well as a the usual hmrc deductions, board and lodging is also deducted, calculated at a daily rate
fair enough - I stand corrected.

Maybe it is because I do not consider these people heroes - the heroes were those who had little choice to fight for the freedom that we now enjoy following the first and second world wars.

And it is those who I remember in silence each November.

That is my right - so apologies if anyone disagrees.
[quote][p][bold]noj[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]GentleGiant[/bold] wrote: Cuts in the Army will only affect those who thought they joined for a job for life and free board and lodging. An easy way of life. These cuts are required.[/p][/quote]Stupid uneducated comment. When you serve in the armed forces, as well as a the usual hmrc deductions, board and lodging is also deducted, calculated at a daily rate[/p][/quote]fair enough - I stand corrected. Maybe it is because I do not consider these people heroes - the heroes were those who had little choice to fight for the freedom that we now enjoy following the first and second world wars. And it is those who I remember in silence each November. That is my right - so apologies if anyone disagrees. GentleGiant

10:29am Mon 22 Oct 12

Nebs says...

If you must reduce the army, retrain them as policeman.
If you must reduce the army, retrain them as policeman. Nebs

11:16am Mon 22 Oct 12

Olivia2847 says...

Nebs wrote:
If you must reduce the army, retrain them as policeman.
Excellent comment Nebs, but reintroduce National Service, with all the trade experience ex service personnel have and it would perhaps be a solution. Have been based with the army in Italy and there is very little youth crime as they are all called up for two years!
[quote][p][bold]Nebs[/bold] wrote: If you must reduce the army, retrain them as policeman.[/p][/quote]Excellent comment Nebs, but reintroduce National Service, with all the trade experience ex service personnel have and it would perhaps be a solution. Have been based with the army in Italy and there is very little youth crime as they are all called up for two years! Olivia2847

5:48pm Mon 22 Oct 12

edgun says...

GentleGiant wrote:
noj wrote:
GentleGiant wrote:
Cuts in the Army will only affect those who thought they joined for a job for life and free board and lodging. An easy way of life. These cuts are required.
Stupid uneducated comment. When you serve in the armed forces, as well as a the usual hmrc deductions, board and lodging is also deducted, calculated at a daily rate
fair enough - I stand corrected.

Maybe it is because I do not consider these people heroes - the heroes were those who had little choice to fight for the freedom that we now enjoy following the first and second world wars.

And it is those who I remember in silence each November.

That is my right - so apologies if anyone disagrees.
Thank you GentleGiant we do not think of ourselves as hero's ,we joined up because we wanted too ,the heroes where in the two world wars where they saved our country .
I do like the way our armed forces are treated now and about time

Eddie
[quote][p][bold]GentleGiant[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]noj[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]GentleGiant[/bold] wrote: Cuts in the Army will only affect those who thought they joined for a job for life and free board and lodging. An easy way of life. These cuts are required.[/p][/quote]Stupid uneducated comment. When you serve in the armed forces, as well as a the usual hmrc deductions, board and lodging is also deducted, calculated at a daily rate[/p][/quote]fair enough - I stand corrected. Maybe it is because I do not consider these people heroes - the heroes were those who had little choice to fight for the freedom that we now enjoy following the first and second world wars. And it is those who I remember in silence each November. That is my right - so apologies if anyone disagrees.[/p][/quote]Thank you GentleGiant we do not think of ourselves as hero's ,we joined up because we wanted too ,the heroes where in the two world wars where they saved our country . I do like the way our armed forces are treated now and about time Eddie edgun

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