http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/3121803.stm Scotland could lose one of its six surviving infantry regiments in a major defence shake-up, according to a Conservative MP. Patrick Mercer, the party's spokesman for homeland security, said he has seen a leak of a government white paper to be published this autumn. The MP for Newark said he had been told that up to five infantry battalions across the UK were facing the axe. Mr Mercer said that meant one of Scotland's infantry regiments was under threat. He claimed units north of the border were particularly vulnerable under the review because of widespread under-manning. The former soldier blamed the government, which he said had allowed recruitment to slip. The Highlanders, which was formed in 1994 by the merger of the Gordons and the Queen's Own Highlanders, is seen as the favourite to be scrapped. Mr Mercer said: "If the army looks at sustainability then clearly then all of the Scottish regiments are deeply, deeply threatened. "For instance, the Highlanders recognise they are 15 under-strength when in reality they are more than 100 under-strength because they are made up with so many Gurkhas." He told BBC Scotland that the army was already stretched to "breaking point". Mr Mercer said the white paper would leave the Ministry of Defence with a choice between manpower and expanding equipment programmes. "I think that manpower is going to lose while more expensive equipment is bought," he said. An MoD spokesperson refused to comment on speculation, saying that the white paper was still under development and would be published in the autumn.