By Brendan Carlin, Political Correspondent (Filed: 22/07/2005) John Reid, the Defence Secretary, was accused yesterday of attempting to " out" the announcement of thousands of job cuts in the Armed Forces. Mr Reid was privately criticised by a Cabinet colleague after seeking to confirm the loss of some 2,500 military and civilian posts in statements issued by ministers during the final Commons sitting of the summer. John Reid: 'blundered' The formal announcements of the job losses, which are designed to save up to Â£500 million over 10 years, were made by Don Touhig, a junior defence minister, who was forced to go to the House. The restructuring also includes the disbandment of four RAF Regiment ground-based air defence regiments with the loss of 340 posts. In a reorganisation of the military supply chain, the storage depots at Stafford, Llangennech and Longtown will close with the loss of 2,000 civilian and 50 military posts. The Cold War RAF radar station at Saxa Vord on the Shetland island of Unst will be mothballed, a move that will affect more than 100 Service and civilian personnel. The RAF Regiment units to be axed over three years are 37 Squadron based at RAF Wittering, 15 and 16 Squadrons at RAF Honnington and 26 Squadron at RAF Waddington. The Royal Auxiliary Air Force Regiment's 2625 (County of Cornwall) Squadron based at RAF St Mawgan will also be disbanded. Mr Touhig indicated that there would be consultations over the job losses. Alistair Carmichael, Liberal Democrat MP for Orkney and Shetland, who forced the minister to come to the Commons, said it "beggared belief" that the MoD had tried to release the information only through written statements. Mr Carmichael, whose constituency includes Unst, also complained that Mr Reid was preparing to brief journalists on the plans but had not been ready to speak to MPs. The Saxa Vord decision was "very bleak news indeed" for his constituents. He said: "In a community of 700 people, the loss of 100 jobs and incomes is a devastating blow." Gerald Howarth, the Tory defence spokesman, accused the MoD of trying to "sneak out" the news on the day the Commons broke up for the summer recess. The defence announcements were among 65 government statements made during the last Commons sitting before October. Describing the cuts as part of a "steady attrition" against the RAF, Mr Howarth said ministers were guilty of a "gross discourtesy" to parliament over decisions that were "affecting constituencies right across this land". A Cabinet minister privately said Mr Reid had blundered by not making his announcements directly to MPs. Mr Touhig defended the Defence Secretary by saying Mr Reid could not be present in the Commons because he was in a meeting discussing the July 7 terrorist attacks. In his written statement, Mr Reid said the changes would allow the Army's Royal Regiment of Artillery to take over responsibility for ground-based air defences. The RAF Regiment would focus on protecting other elements of the Armed Forces, particularly while on deployment. As part of the changes, the RAF Regiment's 3 Squadron at RAF Aldegrove and the Queen's Colour Squadron at RAF Uxbridge would be expanded by about 40 troops each. An MoD spokesman said it had planned to be "as open as possible" by first announcing the moves in written statements, then briefing the press.