Barnsley MPs hand-deliver letter to the Defence Secretary urging him to end the damaging speculation that he will axe the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment

Barnsley MPs, Michael Dugher MP, Dan Jarvis MP and Angela Smith MP, hand-delivered a joint letter this morning to the Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond, at the Ministry of Defence.

The three MPs walked from Parliament to the main Ministry of Defence building on Whitehall to personally deliver the letter.

The 3rd Battalion, which is currently serving in Afghanistan, recruits heavily from Barnsley and surrounding parts of Yorkshire. The speculation over its future also comes just days before Armed Forces Day (30 June 2012).

The joint letter is signed by:
Dan Jarvis MBE MP, Member of Parliament for Barnsley Central
Michael Dugher MP, Member of Parliament for Barnsley East
Angela Smith MP, Member of Parliament for Penistone & Stocksbridge
John Healey MP, Member of Parliament for Wentworth and Dearne

The letter can be seen here and below.

Secretary of State for Defence
Ministry of Defence
Main Building
Whitehall
London
SW1A 2HB

20 June 2012

Dear Secretary of State,

You will be aware that in recent days there has been intense speculation – that would appear to be well-sourced – that you are preparing to scrap one of the three regular battalions of The Yorkshire Regiment, as part of the Government’s significant cuts in numbers to our Armed Forces.

Yorkshire soldiers have served our country and the British Army with distinction for generations. Their service and sacrifice is renowned and respected throughout the country.

We are therefore particularly concerned to hear suggestions that the Battalion ear-marked to be abolished is the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (3 YORKS), formerly known as the Duke of Wellington’s, that recruits heavily from Barnsley and surrounding parts of South Yorkshire.

As you will know, 3 YORKS were deployed in April to Helmand Province in Afghanistan. I am sure you will understand the profound concern felt locally by our constituents that our brave service personnel and their families should have to endure the news from back home that they may be about to lose their jobs, and see their historic unit axed at a time when they are risking their lives day-in-day-out in Afghanistan.

After all the recent announcements regarding cuts to pension and compensation entitlements, and after the recent round of Armed Forces redundancies you made last week (despite promises of a larger army made before the election), this latest news has been a hammer blow to the communities we represent.
We accept the need for savings. Indeed, we have supported many changes the Government has made worth billions of pounds. But this latest news that you are, in effect, planning to scrap 3 YORKS after they return from active duty in Afghanistan is, in our view, an unacceptable way to treat the brave men and women of our Armed Forces.

3 YORKS are rightly proud of their years of service to our nation. Their service and sacrifice dates back 300 years and their battle honours include not only Waterloo, but the Somme, Normandy and Iraq.

We believe that it is unacceptable that Ministers could be planning to axe 3 YORKS at a time when they are today performing their duties magnificently in Afghanistan at very considerable danger.

We understand an announcement is due to be made before the House rises for the summer recess, though it may have been delayed until after Armed Forces Day next week. Given the strength of feeling locally, we would urge you to end the damaging speculation and assure our constituents that their proud local regiment 3 YORKS will not be scrapped and its members will not face redundancy.

Yours sincerely,
Dan Jarvis MBE MP, Member of Parliament for Barnsley Central
Michael Dugher MP, Member of Parliament for Barnsley East
Angela Smith MP, Member of Parliament for Penistone & Stocksbridge
John Healey MP, Member of Parliament for Wentworth and Dearne

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One thought on “Barnsley MPs hand-deliver letter to the Defence Secretary urging him to end the damaging speculation that he will axe the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment

  1. I am the mother of a 3 yorks soldier, this government promised that no active service soldier would be made redundant, yet another lie Mr Cameron, I cannot wait for the next general election, Mr Cameron, like his predessor Brown and Blair are basic liers.

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