Defence Secretary wants reserve soldiers 'build-up'

Defence Secretary Liam Fox has pledged a "build-up" of reserve soldiers which could see a reduction in the size of the regular Army.

Dr Fox said he wanted to ensure the Territorial Army was "properly trained and equipped" so more soldiers were ready for frontline duties.



Ahead of a statement to the House of Commons, he said it was "offensive" to refer to reserves as "Dad's Army", insisting they had not received the level of recognition they deserved.



Dr Fox told Sky News' Murnaghan programme he would inform MPs tomorrow of what he believed the "appropriate size of the Army in total" should be.



But he said a reduction in the regular Army would only happen when the Government invested more in reserve forces and the UK had successfully withdrawn from Afghanistan.



"I'm not going to say too much ahead of the statement tomorrow in the House of Commons but I think that we need to look at international comparisons where you generally see the reserves slightly bigger in relation to the regular forces that we have in Britain," he said.



"One of the problems in the UK has been the rundown of the reserves and I have, in Opposition and during our time in Government, been very concerned to see that we are going to put the correct resources into the reserves to make sure they're properly trained and equipped.



"We cannot simply see the reserves as a group of people from whom we draw a six-month tour of Afghanistan and let the rest wither on the vine, that's simply not good enough.



"What I intend to do is see a build-up again of the reserves so that their utility is greater, and also so that over time we create the sort of civil contingency in the UK that sadly we've been lacking."



Dr Fox was asked whether he was prepared for criticism that reserve soldiers were the "Dad's Army" equivalent of the regular Army.



"I do feel it's a little offensive when we've used the reserves so successfully in Afghanistan to talk about them as Dad's Army," he replied.



"In fact, one of the problems with the reserves is that there has not been sufficient investment in recent years."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before