HC Deb 26 January 2004 vol 417 c20
21. Mr. Kevin Hughes(Lab) (Doncaster, North)

How many members of reserve forces are serving in the Gulf region; and if he will make a statement. [150174]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Ivor Caplin)

As at last Wednesday, 21 January, 1,042 reservists were serving in the Gulf region supporting Op Telic. Broken down by service they are as follows: Royal Naval Reserve, 18; Royal Marine Reserve, 14; Territorial Army, 991; Royal Auxiliary Air Force, 19.

Mr. Hughes

And is it not the case that despite certain stories circulated in the media, most reservists were proud to be deployed and to serve their country during the conflict in Iraq, and are proud to be out there now helping with the rebuilding of Iraq?

Can the Minister tell the House whether he has received any feedback from industry about the additional skills that reservists have picked up while they have been out in Iraq?

Mr. Caplin

I know that my hon. Friend has a personal interest, because his son Martyn was a valuable member of our armed forces during the conflict.

We continually work with employers to consider all the issues involved in call-out and mobilisation, in particular the skills that our reserve forces can bring when they return to work. It is worth pointing out that our reserves made a very important contribution to operations in 2003, and I am confident that they will continue to do so in future.