CAMPAIGNERS battling to save the ‘borough’s battalion’ have enlisted a powerful ally.
Borough council leader Dennis Harvey is lending his support to the fight to save the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
He is also writing to the three MPS who represent the borough urging them to add their weight to an online petition against plans to disband it.
The battalion draws many of its recruits from Nuneaton and Bedworth, but is all set to be disbanded in the latest round of defence cuts.
Cllr Harvey confirmed his support to the campaign to save it in answer to a rallying call from Cllr Jill Sheppard.
Speaking at a full council meeting she asked: “In light of the government’s plans to cut Armed Forces personnel, which includes the 2nd Battalion, Royal Fusiliers, who we gave the Freedom of the Borough to, can I ask if the leader supports the online petition.
“Also, can I request that he writes to the three MPs to ask them to support the retention of the Armed Forces personnel and asks them to sign the petition.”
Cllr Harvey said he ‘certainly agreed’ to do so and noted that two of the MPs, Marcus Jones and Dan Byles, had asked questions in Parliament about the cuts.
But he added: “Hopefully, we would expect them to do more than ask questions and vote against the proposals.”
Nuneaton MP Marcus Jones told the House of Commons his constituents would be ‘deeply concerned’ about the effects on the Fusiliers and their recruitment in Warwickshire.
Former soldier Dan Byles, who represents Bedworth and North Warwickshire, said changes had taken place over the last few years that led the Secretary of State for Defence to arrive at his conclusions.
The third borough MP is Mark Pawsey, whose Rugby constituency includes Bulkington.
Around 200 soldiers from the Nuneaton and Bedworth area are currently serving in the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
Two of them, Sergeant Simon Valentine from Bedworth and Fusilier Louis Carter from Nuneaton were killed almost three years ago in Afghanistan.
Sgt Valentine’s mother, Carol Valentine, has already hit out at the cuts.
She said: “These soldiers are our local lads and what the government is doing to them is appalling.”
Almost 6,000 have already signed the online petition, but 100,000 are needed to force a debate by MPs in Parliament.
Anyone who wants to sign the petition can do so by visiting https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/35724