Barbara has spoken out in Parliament against the Government’s decision to axe the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers. Barbara had met former Fusiliers who had marched on Parliament to protest against the Government’s proposals to axe the 2nd Battalion. Those who marched included the Salford Branch of the Fusiliers Association.
Speaking during the debate in the House of Commons, Barbara talked about the anger that was felt in Salford and across Greater Manchester after the announcement that the battalion would be lost. She questioned the reasoning behind the Government’s decision to scrap the 2nd Battalion on the basis of recruitment figures. She highlighted the fact that the battalion is currently one of the strongest regiments in the country in deployable strength. The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers currently has a good record on recruitment with 523 trained soldiers out of a maximum strength of 532, and is the only regiment set to grow in the next 6 months.
“The 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers has a proud history. The Fusiliers have played a role in every major military engagement over more than 300 years. The impact of the loss of the battalion will be felt across many communities in Greater Manchester. I know that the Government’s decision to axe the 2nd Battalion has left those people who have lost family members who served in the battalion feeling angry and betrayed.
In my speech I talked about Mrs Annis, whose son Fusilier Simon Annis was killed in 2009 during a tour of Afghanistan. She told me this week:
“...as the mother of a Fusilier who paid the ultimate sacrifice for his Queen, his country and his Battalion, I can only see this decision as a betrayal of trust for the soldiers still serving and to the memory of the brave men who have given their lives whilst serving in this historically proud regiment...”
“I have urged Ministers to reconsider their decision and to respect the proud history and valour of the 2nd Battalion, its current strong recruiting position and the sacrifice of fallen Fusiliers like Simon Annis.
"I hope the Government will listen to the strength of opposition to their cuts in Salford and across Greater Manchester and save the 2nd Battalion."