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Further Army cuts 'would unravel defence plans'

An influential group of MPs has warned that if ministers attempt to make any further cuts, the whole Army 2020 plan would "unravel" completely.

Under the plan, the size of the regular Army is being slashed from 102,000 troops to 82,000 while the numbers of part time reservists will expand to 30,000 by 2018.

The regular Army is being slashed from 102,000 troops to 82,000 under the plan. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

In a hard-hitting report, the Commons Defence Committee said the rationale for the plan remained untested while the "high level of change" involved - at a time when troops were still engaged in Afghanistan - could "compromise" its ability to respond to emergencies.

It complained at the "apparent lack of consultation and involvement" of the head of the Army, General Sir Peter Wall, who was simply told by the senior civil servant at the Ministry of Defence what the future strength of the Army would be.

MPs warn Army cuts 'have not been thought through'

Government cuts to the Army have not been thought through and could leave Britain dangerously exposed in the event of a future crisis, MPs have warned.

The Commons Defence Committee has issued the warning. Credit: David Cheskin/PA Wire

The Commons Defence Committee said the restructuring progamme - known as the Army 2020 plan - was driven by the need to fit a "financial envelope" rather than a proper assessment of potential threats.

It has urged the Ministry of Defence to draw up contingency plans for a rapid recruitment programme in case there was urgent need for more troops to deal with an emergency.

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Over 1,600 military help with flood relief effort

Over 1,600 servicemen and women have helped with the flood relief effort today across the UK, the Ministry of Defence said.

Members of the Army help residents with sandbags in Egham, Surrey. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire

A statement said: "Today, military personnel continued to provide flood relief in affected parts of the UK.

"More than 1,600 servicemen and women have been committed to tasks including assisting residents, as well as filling and distributing sandbags in six different locations in the Thames Valley."

The statement added that 100 personnel carried out sandbagging and humanitarian duties in Wraysbury, 100 Royal Marines assisting people in The Somerset Levels and more than 2,000 staff on "high readiness ready to respond to short notice requests."

MoD facing legal action over alleged bullying

An ex-private says he attempted suicide several times after his complains about being bullied were ignored by the army.

Joseph McCabe is taking civil legal action against the Ministry of Defence for its alleged failure to act, the BBC reported, as well as appealing against a decision to deny him financial compensation. He said:

I'm still having nightmares, I'm still having flashbacks. If I could I would lock myself up in a box and just hide away. But if I do that it's like I'm letting those people in the Army win so I have forced myself to take up a new career, to rebuild my life.

He said that he received death threats and was stabbed in the leg at the height of constant abuse centred on his stutter but that officers laughed off the threats and no-one was punished. The Ministry of Defence responded:

Whilst we can't comment on individual cases, we can be clear that the armed forces have a zero-tolerance policy towards all forms of bullying, discrimination and abuse.

All allegations will be fully investigated either by the civil or the military police and appropriate action will be taken.

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1,500 military jobs to be axed

More than 1,500 military personnel will lose their jobs in the final round of armed forces redundancies, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has confirmed.

Redundancies will include up to 1,425 members of the Army, up to 70 medical and dental officers from the RAF and up to 10 from the Royal Navy, Hammond told MPs in a Commons statement.

The fourth tranche of redundancies is part of an armed forces re-structuring programme which will see the regular Army cut from 102,000 to 82,000 by 2020, while the newly-renamed Army Reserve - formerly the Territorial Army - is being expanded from 19,000 to 30,000.

Prince Harry to organise Army ceremonial spectacles

Prince Harry, who has twice been deployed to Afghanistan, is to become a Staff Officer at HQ London District, which organises ceremonial spectacles like Trooping the Colour and state visits.

Captain Wales as he is known in the British Army, does a pre-flight check of his Apache Helicopter at Camp Bastion. Credit: John Stillwell/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Earlier it was announced the Prince has completed his attachment with the Army Air Corps flying Apache helicopters.

He will begin his job in the next few weeks and there is speculation his new role based in Horse Guards in central London will allow him to get in involved with the Warrior Games.

Harry flew to America last year to support competitors taking part in the Games, a paralympic style event for injured servicemen and women, and he hopes to help bring the event to the UK.

Lieutenant Colonel Tom de la Rue, who commanded Harry in the Army Air Corps, said: "Captain Wales has reached the pinnacle of flying excellence as an Apache pilot, particularly in Afghanistan and, in the process, has proved to be a real inspiration to the many Army Air Corps officers and soldiers."

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