To mark the safe return of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers from its final tour of Afghanistan, a Homecoming Parade took place in Bury town centre yesterday – Tuesday 19 November.
Hundreds lined the streets as the soldiers marched from Wellington Road near the old Barracks, and headed along Manchester Road, past the Town Hall on Knowsley Street, Angouleme Way, Silver Street, Bolton Street, Haymarket Street, and back down Knowsley Street.
The Mayor took to the stand with the High Sheriff and RRF officers to take the salute.
As regards the future of the 2nd Battalion, there have been two specific debates so far on the disbandment of the Fusiliers in Parliament, and on both occasions I have voted for the motion we put forward which read:-
“That this House notes concerns about the Government’s defence reforms in relation to whether its proposals for the reserve forces will deliver either the anticipated cost savings or defence capability: and urges the Government to delay the disbandment of regular units until it is established that the Army Reserve plan is viable and cost- effective”.
On both occasions the motion was passed. Despite those votes in Parliament the plans have been proceeding and so a Group of is have sought to amend the Defence Reform Bill.
The proposed amendments do not seek to wreck the Defence Reform Bill as the Secretary of State has said they are proceeding with the changes. It is clear however that questions remain about how the plans to recruit more Reservists are progressing. All the proposed New Clause seeks to do is postpone any further implementation of the plans until a report detailing their viability and cost effectiveness has been presented to and approved by Parliament.
The support the Fusiliers receive in Bury is demonstrated many times throughout the year on Gallipoli Sunday, on Remembrance day and on Homecoming Parades.
I will continue to do all I can to stand up for the Fusiliers and on matters of Defence, Country must come before Party loyalties.