Manchester Evening News regiment campaign breakthrough

 

The Manchester Evening News has hailed a major breakthrough in its campaign to save a historic regiment.

The paper has been campaigning to save 600 service personnel from the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers, since July when it emerged jobs were at risk.

Reporter Paul Britton travelled to Downing Street, along with a former soldier from Bury, to hand the paper’s Save Our Fusiliers petition, signed by 8,000 people, to Prime Minister David Cameron. The MEN also handed in a sister petition from Bury after a campaign by the council.

While in London, Britton also covered a protest march, involving around 400 veterans, on the paper’s news blog and Twitter feed, and then a three-hour Commons debate, which resulted in the Government being defeated in a motion calling for a rethink on plans to axe the battalion.

Colonel Brian Gorski, chairman of the Fusilier Museum in Bury, said: “On behalf of the regiment I want to thank the MEN and its readers.

“This parade, and the numbers, illustrate the pride of the Fusiliers, pride which has served the battalion through centuries. They did themselves proud.”

MEN head of politics David Ottewell said: “The overwhelming vote against the proposals was notable for two reasons: the size of the rebellion and the fact it had cross-party support.

“Prime Ministers generally hate doing U-turns because they think it makes them look weak. But sometimes it can be a sign of strength – a readiness to respond to a well-made case.

“The Fusiliers don't just have history, passion and the public on their side.  The fact is, the government's figures don't add up. Mr Cameron would be wise to ponder whether this really is a battle worth fighting.”

MEN’s front page lead today reads: “We’ve won the battle, now let’s win the war”.

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