Jim McGovern welcomes Prime Minister’s apparent u-turn on the Black Watch
23 May 2012
Dundee West MP Jim McGovern today questioned the Prime Minister over the future of The Black Watch during a debate on the recent G8 meeting.
The Prime Minister committed the government the protecting the historic Scottish battalions, in an apparent u-turn.
This is an alteration to the government’s initial plan, announced by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond MP last week, which would have seen historic battalions axed outright, and personnel amalgamated into new, smaller, units.
Questions have been raised however that the Prime Minister’s commitment today is at odds with his government’s plans to cut the army by 82,000 service personnel, which the government have conceded will mean fewer army battalions in operation after the next tranche of army restructuring.
Jim McGovern said;
“I welcome the progress we have made in forcing the government to commit to keeping the traditional identities of the remaining battalions.
"We haven’t won yet, but we are in the final furlong. While there is no room for complacency we do have grounds for optimism.”
“The government must now reconcile their commitment to protecting the historic regiments with their aim of cutting 82,000 service personnel from the army. As their own minister admitted today, that will inevitably mean that some battalions will be axed.”
Mr McGovern concluded,
“What we need from the government is clarity on their actual plans for the Scottish battalions, and we need to see a new approach to defence spending.
"Cutting front line personnel and shedding historic battalions is no way to equip the United Kingdom with world class armed forces.”