Madeleine Moon MP - Working hard for Bridgend
MP defends Welsh regiments from Westminster interference
Madeleine Moon MP sought assurances from Government Ministers yesterday that decisions on regional army cuts would not be politically influenced. The Sunday Times had reported on 20th May that the Prime Minister had personally suggested Scottish regiments should be protected from the cull, so as to avoid straining relations between Westminster and the Scottish Parliament and fuelling the independence debate. It is suggested that Welsh regiments were put forward as an alternative source of savings, with the Queen’s Dragoon Guards at particular risk.
A debate held by SNP members in Westminster Hall, Parliament’s alternative debating chamber, brought Ministry of Defence Minster Nick Harvey to hear the case for retaining Scottish forces. Mrs Moon attended the debate to counter these calls with the need to protect Welsh forces, intervening several times to demonstrate that the arguments for protecting Scottish troop numbers were equally applicable to Wales.
“I stressed to the members in attendance and to the Minister that there is no justification for prioritising Scottish troops over any other part of the UK. Regiments such as the Queen’s Dragoon Guards are part of Welsh national identity, and help to forge strong community values.
“Wales also makes a disproportionate contribution to the UK army. 9% of troops are recruited in Wales, while the country makes up 3% of the UK population. Troops are very much motivated by pride in their community and serving alongside comrades from their home region. We must not demean this commitment by sacrificing it for political gain.
“The Minister claimed the Army would make decisions on cuts independently, but recent reports suggest this may not be the case and that pressure may be coming straight from Number 10. This Government must refrain from meddling and leave the Army to take decisions that are in the best interests of national security.”
The army will be cut from 100,000 to 82,000 by 2020, the smallest size since the Boer War.