MP claims Army will struggle to recruit in Cornwall when 6 Rifles leaves Truro
The Army will struggle to recruit part-time soldiers in Cornwall after removing an historic platoon from Truro, the local MP has claimed.
As part of cost-cutting measures the Government announced in July that 6 Rifles would abandon its base in Truro from 2016.
Sarah Newton, Conservative MP for Truro and Falmouth, said the proposal inflicted “a blow to local military identity”.
Speaking in the House of Commons today Mrs Newton spoke out about the "localised flaw" in a reservist plan she broadly supports.
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She said making Plymouth the company's closest base for serving riflemen living in Cornwall would cause them "real problems".
The MP, also deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, was speaking in a Commons backbench debate questioning plans to reform the Army.
She told MPs: "This move from Truro will cause real problems for serving riflemen living in west and central Cornwall, and will impact on future recruitment from these areas.
"Cornwall is a large and rural county and it can take a very considerable time to travel to Plymouth. A rifleman looking to take the train from Falmouth in my constituency to an evening's training in Plymouth would face a four-hour round trip – those travelling from further west will face yet longer journey times."
Cornwall has links to the Rifles – a successor to the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry – stretching back to the 18th century.
"The end of 231 years of Rifles' boots on Cornish soil will weaken the link between county and regiment," Mrs Newton said.