Following the Defence Secretary’s White Paper issued today which states that
defence spending must be directed at high-tech solutions and that the
overall size of the armed forces may need to be reduced, Michael Fabricant
says "I fear that, yet again, the Staffordshire Regiment may face the chop".
Britain’s top military officer, Chief of the Defence Staff Sir Michael
Walker warned in a speech this week of "tough choices ahead". Labour MP
Lewis Moonie, a defence minister until the summer, said he expected "there
may well have to be cuts in some of the existing programmes in order to
focus on the type of changes that we need.
"We can’t expect to expand the defence budget indefinitely."
But Michael Fabricant says: "It would be madness to cut infantry regiments
like the Staffords. They are the backbone of the army and are not only used
in offensive battles as in the first Gulf War, but also in major peace
keeping roles. It is clear that the British Army will be peacekeeping in
Iraq, the Balkans, Northern Ireland and other locations for many years to
come. We can’t keep calling up reservists as we are doing at present: it
is already putting a huge strain on British industry. We are currently
undermanned in the armed forces and we should increase numbers given the
current world situation, not cut back.
"I will be asking Parliamentary written questions today of Defence Secretary
Geoff Hoon asking for assurances concerning the future of the Staffordshire
Regiment" adds Michael Fabricant. The Regiment was founded almost 300 years
ago in the King’s Head pub in Bird Street Lichfield. "The pub is still
there." says Michael. "I want to ensure that the pub doesn’t outlive the