James Gray MP with representatives from Google and The Countryside Alliance Foundation
James Gray MP welcoming representatives of 20th Armoured Brigade to Parliament
James at The Springfields Academy
James with representatives of 1st The Queen's Dragoon Guards during a Welcome Home Event for 20th Armoured Brigade
Mr James Gray (North Wiltshire) (Conservative): Most of us understand, while deeply regretting, the financial imperative that has resulted in the reduction to 82,000 soldiers. Central to the Secretary of State’s announcement today is the importance of the TA in coming years. I might have missed this, but I would like his assurance on a couple of details. First, timing is central. Will the TA be built up before the regular forces are reduced? Secondly, is there room for transfers from the regular forces into the Territorials?
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr Philip Hammond): I think I mentioned that one of the units being withdrawn will become a TA unit. Of course, people leaving the regular forces are always most welcome to join the reserves. My hon. Friend’s point about timing is important, and the process of building up the reserves has already begun. A recruiting campaign was launched over the Christmas-new year period, and further campaigns are in hand. We expect there to be a steady build-up in the reserves between now and 2018.
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