Tough decisions had to be taken to tackle the multi-billion pound deficit left behind in defence by the previous government, the Ministry of Defence said today, after it faced a rebellion by Conservative MPs over plans to cut the size of the regular Army. A spokesman said:
We are reshaping our armed forces to ensure they are properly equipped and more adaptable to future challenges and threats.
[We] are investing £1.8 billion in more modern equipment, increased training and incentives as we build a fully integrated Army with regulars and reserves training and operating alongside each other.
The Army is confident of its ability to increase the Army Reserve from a trained strength of 19,000 to 30,000.
Conservative MPs have said Government plans to cut the size of the regular Army while increasing the numbers of part-time reservists are "clearly born of financial necessity and not strategic design" and are "high-risk in this increasingly uncertain world".
Around 25 Tory backbenchers wrote to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond urging him to halt the disbanding of regular units, according to the Sunday Telegraph. In the letter they wrote:
We suggest that the Government's reservist plans are already having a distorting effect on the ground.
Well-recruited battalions are being disbanded whilst more poorly-recruited, and therefore expensive, battalions are being preserved. Such a policy simply reinforces failure.
The Government is facing a rebellion by Conservative MPs over plans to cut the size of the regular Army while increasing the numbers of part-time reservists.
Around 25 Tory backbenchers have written to Defence Secretary Philip Hammond urging him to halt the disbanding of regular units, The Sunday Telegraph said.
In a bluntly-worded letter, they say the Government needs to decide where its priorities lie - "ensuring the defence of the realm or funding white elephants such as HS2". The Ministry of Defence confirmed that it had received the letter organised by backbencher John Baron.