Protests are gathering strength against plans to disband a famous fighting battalion of a historic North East regiment.
The 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, an armoured infantry regiment of 600 soldiers, is under threat from the Government’s programme of Army cuts.
Campaigners claim the decision is politically-motivated, but the Army says it was forced to make tough choices and has done its best to limit the impact on recruitment and operational capabilities.
Blaydon MP Dave Anderson said: "It is one thing to disband a regiment when it fails to recruit enough people locally but another to do so for short-term political reasons, in this case an effort to undermine the Scottish independence campaign.
"I fear that the young men of our region may be forced to join Scottish Battalions to make the numbers up although the North East alone recruits more than twice the number of soldiers per year than the whole of Scotland."
MP for Newcastle Central Chi Onwurah has urged the signing of a petition to save the regiment, which incorporates the Northumberland Fusiliers.
She has joined a cross-party group of MPs that plans to take action in Parliament in a campaign to save the Fusiliers.
The cross-party group has secured a meeting with the Secretary of State for Defence, giving them chance to make the case for retaining the 2nd Battalion of Fusiliers.
There will be a public event at 2pm on Saturday September 8 at Old Eldon Square in Newcastle to support the campaign.
An Army spokesman said: “Tough decisions had to be taken to deal with the MOD's financial blackhole, inherited from the previous Government.
"To suggest decisions were taken on recruitment performance alone is a misunderstanding of the Army's process.
"The Army took account of a number of criteria to determine which Infantry battalions would be withdrawn under Army 2020.
"These included a balance across the broader infantry structure and the capability roles within it, demographic sustainability of regiments according to projected regional supply of recruits, and taking account of previous decisions on mergers and deletions.
"The Army also considered proportionality of outcome, with no cap badge deletions and no regiment losing more than one battalion in a re-organisation."
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