By Kevin Unitt Monday 22 October 2012 Updated: 22/10 08:17
A MOTION calling on the government to scrap its plans to axe an historic Warwickshire battalion has received cross-party support in the House of Commons.
Ahead of the debate last Thursday (October 18), petitions collected in the Warwickshire area – containing many thousands of signatures –had been handed in at 10 Downing Street.
They called on the government not disband the 2nd Battalion The Royal Fusiliers, which has recruited in Warwickshire for more than 300 years.
Ahead of the meeting, veterans were among those taking part in a protest march to Westminster.
After three hours of debate in the House, a motion supporting the battalion was backed by 57 MPs to three.
Warwick and Leamington MP Chris White, one of those voting in favour, said during the debate: “The regiment has deep roots in my constituency...a bond spreading across the generations, felt not just by soldiers, but among civilians.
“Tens of thousands of people across Warwickshire have signed petitions in the regiment’s recruiting areas to save the 2nd Battalion. The regiment is part of our community and way of life, and that emotional tie is important.
“We should be basing these decisions not on historical issues but on the future, and at present, the 2nd Battalion is not one of the worst recruiting units but one of the best.
“I believe there is a clear military case to be made to keep the 2nd Battalion, but there is also an emotional one.”
Under plans revealed in July to slash regular Army numbers, the historic Warwickshire regiment would lose one of its two battalions and be cut from 1,100 to just 600 soldiers.
Government Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has insisted financial savings must be found and claimed it was possible to make the Army smaller, flexible and more agile with the Territorial Army filling in the gaps by doubling from 15,000 to 30,000 part-time reservists.
Kenilworth councillor and former town mayor Richard Davies, who helped collected 7,500 signatures against the cuts from people in the town and surrounding area, welcomed the House of Commons vote and told the Observer it was “frankly shameful” that Warwickshire's proud and historic regiment was being considered “political cannon fodder”.
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