Hammond a disgrace, says colonel

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DEFENCE Secretary Philip Hammond was heckled during his speech yesterday by a retired army colonel who called him a disgrace for cuts to his former regiment.

Colonel Ian Brazier interrupted Mr Hammond’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester to claim the Ministry of Defence had betrayed members of the Royal Fusiliers by cutting the regiment back.

Mr Hammond promised to speak to the retired soldier, a Conservative party member, before he was ushered out of the hall by security guards.

Interrupting Mr Hammond’s speech in the main hall, Col Brazier said: “Tell the truth about the disbandment of the Fusiliers.

“I write you letters, you don’t respond. The public must know the truth – the Fusiliers are loyal soldiers, you have betrayed them.

“Sir, you need to be looking at defence.

“This is denial, not defence. You’re a disgrace.”

Speaking outside the main hall to reporters, Col Brazier, chairman of the Fusiliers Association, said he was speaking on “behalf of all retired fusiliers”.

He was accompanied by Captain Joe Eastwood, 76, from Cambridge, when he interrupted Mr Hammond.

Col Brazier, 59, added: “I am very angry about the fact the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (2RRF), is to be disbanded.

“We were not in the disbandment plan.

“We were substituted at the
last minute, for reasons we have yet to be told. Freedom of Information requests have been denied, written requests have been denied because it is embarrassing.”