MPs back govt on army plans

The Government has won a Commons vote on its plans to reorganise the Army. Rebels, supported by Labour, fear the changes will leave the UK short of essential troops and want a pause for the coalition to reconsider.

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Govt: Tory rebels risk 'serious damage' to armed forces

Defence secretary Philip Hammond plans to expand the Territorial Army to offset cuts to regular forces. Credit: PA

Members of a brewing Conservative rebellion have been warned they risk "serious damage" to the UK's reserve forces if they vote against a reorganisation of the Army.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has written to rebels to warn them not to disrupt plans to expand the Army Reserves to 30,000 in a bid to offset cuts of 20,000 to regular forces by 2020.

The House of Commons is due to vote later today on the plans, but Tory backbencher John Baron has tabled an amendment signed by 25 MPs, 21 of them Conservative.

Mr Hammond warned that the amendment would halt the process of recruiting reservists, sending "completely the wrong signal to those thinking of joining the reserves".

It would also prevent the Territorial Army changing its name to the Army Reserve, stop payments to firms whose employees join the reserves and interfere with reservists leave pay, Mr Hammond said in his letter.

Read more: 10,000 Army reservists targeted

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