Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (March 1st 2012) fired what he said ‘may be the first shot’ in a new campaign to save the Green Howards, Teesside’s local regiment.
Tom asked the Leader of the House today to confirm or deny that a forthcoming Defence Ministry will be recommending the slimming down of the Army, and the loss of many old established regimental identities and compulsory redundancy for many serving servicemen and women.
Tom said “Press reports over the past weekend indicate that there is a major threat to the future of many historic army regiments because of the coalitions cuts policy. Amongst the regiments fingered in these reports are the second battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment – the Green Howards – one of the oldest and most distinguished regiments in the North of England and in which many Teessiders now serve or have served.
For such action to be contemplated when they – and the other Yorkshire Regiment battalions – are serving in Afghanistan is horrendous and will distress many in my constituency. I therefore asked the Leader of the House, Sir George Young MP, if he will order a full debate on the issue so I, and my local Teesside colleagues, can make a stand for the future of the Green Howards and the communities from which it recruits, and to defend the welfare of Green Howard troopers and their families.
His reply was very disappointing. He could not promise an early debate, merely pushing the issue back to the Defence Ministry. This shows just how uninterested the Tories are in the welfare of servicemen and women putting their lives on the line, or on the impact on areas like Teesside if the Green Howards were to be expunged from history.”