1. ITV Report

Silent protests to be held in Leicester against army regiments merger plans

The 9th/12th Royal Lancers Photo: ITV Central

Silent protests against plans to merge to army regiments will be held in Leicester today. The hour-long vigil at the Victoria Park war memorial is part of a national response to cuts in the Army announced at the start of July.

Earlier this month, the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced 17 major units would be cut by 2020. Mr Hammond said the changes were needed to create a "balanced, capable and adaptable force".

The Armoured Corps will be reduced by two units with the merger of the Leicester-based 9th/12th Royal Lancers and the Queens Royal Lancers, also based in the East Midlands, under Government proposals to lose 17 units by 2020. The 1st and 2nd Tank Regiments will also be amalgamated.

The 3rd Battalion the Mercian Regiment also faces drastic cuts under the new proposals.

Other infantry battalions affected by the plans include the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, the 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards) and the 2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh.

A fifth, the 5th Battalion the Royal Regiment of Scotland (Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) will be reduced to a public duties company to carry out public duties in Scotland.

The cuts will also affect the Royal Artillery, the Royal Engineers, the Army Air Corps, the Royal Logistic Corps, the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers and the Royal Military Police.

The number of service personnel will fall to 82,000 from 102,000.

Defence Minister Nick Harvey MP said the announcements are just working through what was discussed in a Government review two years ago.