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TA Move Reviewed

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4:54pm 21st October 2013

The new armed forces minister has promised to take another look at plans to move Cornwall's main TA unit to Plymouth and Barnstaple.

It comes after Truro MP Sarah Newton raised a debate in the commons over the future of 6 Rifles.

She warns they will find it harder to recruit if they are moved.

Following a House of Commons speech warning of the impact that the proposed move of D Company 6 Rifles could have on Cornwall's military links, Truro and Falmouth MP has welcomed a Ministerial commitment to reconsider the issue.

Under plans unveiled in July, D Company, currently based in Truro and Plymouth, would be based in Plymouth and Barnstaple from 2016. Mrs Newton has raised concerns about the move from Truro and has started an online petition calling for Cornwall's links with the regiment to continue.

Speaking in a House of Commons debate on defence reforms on Thursday Mrs Newton raised the issue, saying: "The move from Truro would cause real problems for serving riflemen living in west and central Cornwall and impact on future recruitment from those areas. Cornwall, as Members will know, is a large and rural county, and it can take a considerable time to travel to Plymouth. A rifleman taking the train from Falmouth in my constituency to an evening training session in Plymouth would face a four-hour round trip. Those travelling further west would face even longer journey times. Is it reasonable or, with a view to future recruitment, wise to add such an inconvenience to the many other sacrifices required of our reservists?

"As well as creating a tangible difficulty for Cornish riflemen, the proposed move from Truro will inflict a blow to local military identity. The link between Cornwall and The Rifles dates back to 1782, when the 32nd Regiment of Foot, a predecessor unit, was designated as Cornwall’s county regiment. That designation has lasted through the centuries and the reorganisations of recent years and, until now, has been physical as well as theoretical, with members of the regiment serving within Cornwall. The end of 231 years of The Rifles' boots on Cornish soil will weaken the link between county and regiment."

The new Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Mark Francois MP , responded to Mrs Newton by committing to honour a promise made his predecessor to look closely at the proposed move.

Commenting Mrs Newton said: "I am pleased that the new Minister has agreed to review the decision to move the Rifles from Truro and will continue to stress to him how important it is that Cornwall's centuries-old direct link with the Rifles and their predecessor regiments be maintained.

"I will continue to work with the MoD and those directly affected by the proposed move to ensure that the right decision is made, and that Cornish residents can continue to make an outstanding contribution to

4:54pm 21st October 2013

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