MPs’ move on regiments under fire

A SENIOR army officer took the unusual step yesterday of criticising a new move by senior opposition politicians to save Scotland’s infantry regiments from amalgamation.

Lieutenant Colonel Niall MacGregor-Smith described a petition backed by SNP leader Alex Salmond, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell and former Tory Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rikind as “deeply unhelpful.”

The three heavyweights gathered at the Scottish Parliament yesterday to launch a petition calling for a Government defence review. They argue that the Government is unwise to cut specialised infantry units at a time when their role is in demand in dealing with international unrest.

Sir Menzies said the regimental system of comparatively small units had been the backbone of the British Army for generations while Sir Malcolm said the Government’s policy of relying on TA soldiers to bolster the infantry was unsustainable.

Mr Salmond said the cuts were a “sickening betrayal” of Scots soldiers and he urged people to sign the petition and send the Government “home to think again.”

However, Lieutenant Colonel MacGregor-Smith said, “We understand the feelings of those who are resistant to change, and that is why we are working hard to retain historic identities and community links within the new Royal Regiment of Scotland.

“This petition is deeply unhelpful for the serving community and serves no real purpose other than to cause confusion.

“What our serving soldiers need is for the uncertainty that has characterised recent months to stop. They need stability and career opportunities in a modern army. That is what the restructuring of the infantry is offering.”

Jeff Duncan, of Save the Scottish Regiments, claimed that the majority of MSPs were behind the petition.

The petition calls on the Government to hold a defence review to re-examine the decision of cutting infantry battalions across the UK from 40 to 36.

It also demands a stop to the merger of the Royal Scots and the King’s Own Scottish Borderers into a single battalion within a five-battalion new Scottish regiment containing The Black Watch, Royal Highland Fusiliers, the Highlanders and Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Representatives of all six regimental associations attended yesterday’s launch...
[C] DC Thomson
Rifkind worked hard for the TA during SDR , so I'll listen to him , ditto Ming.

What is this Lt.Col really saying?

Where are Claymore and Hackle when you need informed commentary on "The Scottish Drama"? (It is unlucky to give a name to it in Army circles evidence suggests)

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