SOUTH Yorkshire MPs have visited the Ministry of Defence to demand an end to the “uncertainty” surrounding the future of the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment.
Barnsley East MP Michael Dugher, Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis, Penistone and Stockbridge MP Angela Smith and Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey delivered a joint letter to the MoD yesterday expressing “profound concern” over rumours that one of the battalion’s three regiments is to be cut.
‘3 Yorks’ is currently on deployment in Afghanistan and the letter from the four Labour MPs stated it is unfair that “brave service personnel and their families should have to endure the news from back home that they may be about to lose their jobs, and see their historic unit axed at a time when they are risking their lives day-in-day-out”.
Last week Labour MPs said they fear the loss of one of the regiments is already a “done deal”.
The Government insists no final decisions have been taken, however. An announcement is expected before the middle of July.
Mr Dugher said: “It is disgraceful that troops currently risking their lives serving in Afghanistan have to hear speculation from back home about their Battalion being axed by the Government.
“(Defence Secretary) Philip Hammond should stop this speculation immediately and assure people in the region that their proud local regiment will not be scrapped and its members will not face redundancy when they return from active duty.”
Mr Jarvis, a former soldier who served on tours of Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming an MP, added: “The Yorkshire Regiment is a massive asset, both to Yorkshire and to the British army.
“The soldiers in the Battalions continue to provide outstanding courage and service – that matters to all of us.
“It’s not unreasonable to ask the Prime Minister and the Defence Secretary to end this uncertainty and doubt.”