Thursday, December 16, 2004

Wielded by "a back-stabbing coward", the axe has fallen on Scotland's entire military tradition.

Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon today confirmed the axing of four infantry battalions in a major restructuring of the Army.
The widely-trailed move prompted angry scenes in the House of Commons with SNP MP Annabelle Ewing ordered out of the chamber by the Speaker after calling Mr Hoon a “backstabbing coward”.

She was angered by Mr Hoon’s confirmation that two single battalion regiments in Scotland — the Royal Scots and The King’s Own Scottish Borderers — would merge into a single battalion and would combine with the other four Scottish regiments, including The Black Watch, to form the new Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Ms Ewing’s Perth constituency is the home of The Black Watch, whose troops have just returned from perilous duty in Iraq.

Following her ejection from the Chamber, Ms Ewing said, “I have every respect for the Deputy Speaker, but absolutely no respect for a shameful minister who has put Scottish soldiers in the line of fire and then stabbed them in the back.

“Over these past few months I have spoken to dozens of current and past members of The Black Watch and their families. They are outraged by the government's plans and I share their anger.


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