Give regiment right respect

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Last week, I joined former members of the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (2RRF) at an event at Downing Street.

I stood outside the gates with the Fusilier Honour Guard and former officer and current Conservative MP, John Baron. I have been working with him to save the regiment. Our case was that 2RRF was one of the best-recruited units in the Army and the battalion has seen continual action over the past decade.

We agreed that the misguided plan to replace 20,000 regulars with 30,000 reservists will result in a gap in military capacity and is a false economy, at a time of increased uncertainty.

Feelings are strong. Col (Rtd) Ian Brazier, chairman of the Fusiliers Association, turned his fire on the defence minister’s woefully inadequate grasp of military issues.

Sadly, the cabinet decided to disband the regiment. We backed former soldiers and old campaigners who fought the good fight but victory is not always possible. We should always respect the commitment and sacrifice of members of the regiment.

This week also sees the 70th anniversary of the D Day invasion of Normandy.

Second World War veterans are entitled to lottery grants to enable them, their spouse and carers to revisit places across the world where they served, or make a commemorative visit in Britain. Veterans can get further details by phoning my Wallsend office on (0191) 234 2493.