Following the announcement today (5th July 2012) by the Secretary of State for Defence on the ‘Army 2020’, Michael Fabricant is ‘saddened’ that the 3rd Battalion of the Mercian Regiment, The Staffords, will be disbanded as a regular unit in this latest review of the Armed Forces though he has received assurances that ‘most if not all of the 3rd Battalion will be absorbed into other battalions and regiments.’
“Even before I became an MP in 1991, I was involved in the ‘Save Our Staffords’ SOS campaign”, says Michael Fabricant. “We were successful when John Major reversed the previous decision to merge the Staffords with the Cheshires. It was a shock and a disgrace when the Staffordshire Regiment was abolished some years back and merged into the Mercian Regiment by the Labour Government.”
But now, 5 of the Army’s 36 infantry battalions will be disbanded though the UK will still have the 4th largest defence expenditure in the world.
Michael adds: “While I can understand the need for cuts, the nation is £2 trillion in debt and Labour left the Ministry of Defence with a £38 billion black hole, I am saddened that the Defence Secretary has decided to salami slice the Mercian Regiment.
“However, I have received firm assurances from the MOD that most if not all of the 3rd Battalion will be absorbed into other battalions and regiments. The Secretary of State has also said that it will be up to the Mercian Regiment to determine how the Staffords name, identity and traditions can be maintained within the Mercian Regiment.
“I will be contacting the Regiment to ask them precisely how this might be achieved.”