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Colchester/ Westminster: Prime Minister blasted by MP over defence cuts

PUBLISHED: 14:25 26 February 2014 | UPDATED: 14:25 26 February 2014

The Pegasus Club at Colchester Garrison was officially opened by Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell Friday 31 May. Pictured with Colonel Mike Newman, Colchester Garrison Commander,

The Pegasus Club at Colchester Garrison was officially opened by Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell Friday 31 May. Pictured with Colonel Mike Newman, Colchester Garrison Commander,

Archant

Colchester MP Bob Russell blasted the prime minister for the “folly” of reducing the size of the armed forces, urging him to stop sacking full-time service men and women today.

The Lib Dem launched the attack on the Government’s defence cut policy which will see regular army numbers fall 20% from 102,000 to 82,000, between 2010 and 2018.

As part of the plans in the defence review in 2010 the Ministry of Defence is now trying to recruit more reservists to plug the gap.

Royal Navy and the RAF forces have also been cut, but by a smaller proportion.

Sir Bob, whose constituency is home to 16 Air Assault Brigade. told MPs in the House of Commons: “Britain’s armed forces are the best, They defend our interests at home and overseas and, as we are witnessing, taking central action in flooded areas.”

He told the Prime Minister to recognise the folly of reducing the size of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces and to “stop sacking full time service men and women”.

Answering the Colchester MP’s question in his weekly House of Commons session David Cameron praised the “extraordinary role” of the armed services during the flooding in the last few weeks.

But said a £38 million black hole in the defence budget had left the Government with “difficult decisions”, including on the size of the army, navy and air force.

Adding: “What we now have is a top five defence budget in terms of spending anywhere in the world. We are coming to the end of all the redundancy schemes sow we can now point loudly and proudly to the extraordinary investment we will be making in Type 45 destroyers, in new aircraft carriers in our hunter killer submarines in our A4100M aircraft. In the best equipment any force could have anywhere in the world.”

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