A senior Welsh Conservative backbench MP has raised the possibility that the loss of the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Welsh, was motivated by political considerations. Monmouth MP David Davies, who chairs the Welsh Select Committee wants to know why the battalion, which is at full strength, was chosen.
We have heard this morning from independent defence experts who told us that, based on proportionality, cost and recruitment considerations, they would in fact cut several battalions of the Scottish regiments, and of the Gurkhas, and we are concerned that this decision to cut a Welsh battalion may be at least partly politically motivated.
Shadow Welsh Secretary, Owen Smith, has asked the Secretary of State, Cheryl Gillan, if her Conservative colleague's fears are groundless. The other Welsh regiments, the Welsh Guards and the Queen's Dragoon Guards, escaped the cuts despite fears about the dragoons, known as the 'Welsh Cavalry'.
I welcome the fact that 1st The Queen’s Dragoon Guards are to be preserved but am concerned at suggestions, notably from the Conservative Chairman of the Welsh Select Committee, that the decisions regarding the Welsh Regiments are in any way ‘politically motivated’. Would you reassure me that this is not the case and that there is no correlation between the decision taken in respect of the Welsh Cavalry and that regarding the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Welsh?
2nd Battalion the Royal Welsh will be withdrawn from service and amalgamated with 1st the Royal Welsh by Autumn 2013.
Army regiments in Wales are set to learn if they will be affected by defence cuts being made across the UK.