Warwickshire County Council calls for Fusiliers reprieve

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THE council will do everything in its power to persuade parliament not to axe the 2nd Battallion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.

The proposal to scrap the battalion leaves the regiment with just one battalion and will either make personnel redundant or move them to another unit. This met with cross party disapproval as leaders from all three parties united to pledge the council’s support for the historic regiment.

The fusiliers have a rich tradition and have seen action in all major conflicts dating back to the Napoleonic wars through to the recent operations in Afghanistan. Famously, during the Great War of 1914-18, the Warwickshire Regiment was awarded six Victoria Crosses for its action at Gallipoli.

The fusiliers also have a history of successfully recruiting in Warwickshire; the county is one of four bases which is one of four regimental areas and home to the museum.

Links to Warwickshire run deep with the county hosting the homecoming parade when the fusiliers returned to the UK from a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2009.

Cllr June Tandy, leader of the Labour Group, forwarded a proposal at the meeting of Warwickshire County Council to oppose the decision to scrap the battalion which would affect recruitment in Warwickshire and, in the words of Brigadier David Paterson, could ‘undermine the army and threaten future military operations’.

Cllr Tandy’s comments were echoed by Cllr Alan Farnell, leader of Warwickshire County Council, who pledged to write to John Baron MP, the leading backbencher in October’s debate to which Warwickshire’s MPs have already signed up, to take up the Fusiliers’ cause.

Letters to Chief of General Staff and the Secretary of State would also, he said, indicate the depth of feeling in Warwickshire

There was agreement across all three parties that the decision should be reviewed. Cllr Alan Farnell, leader of Warwickshire County Council, said: “The county council has already shown its commitment to the armed forces by signing the Armed Forces Community Covenant and we actively seek ways in which we, and partners in the region, can help armed forces personnel and their families. They can be sure of our support in retaining the 2nd Battallion of the Fusiliers. We will be writing to the relevant people and campaigning to protect this historic regiment.”

Cllr June Tandy, leader of the Labour Group said: “We must do what we can, as a county council, to oppose this plan.

The Fusiliers have a strong history of protecting the country and we owe it to them to fight for them.”

Cllr Jerry Roodhouse, leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, joined his council colleagues, in throwing the support of his party behind the council’s campaign. He said “With their history, the fusiliers have earnt our support over the years. Their importance to the country’s military resilience cannot be overlooked and I join my colleagues in the council in opposing the plan to axe the regiment.”