HC Deb 05 December 1989 vol 163 cc149-50W
Mr. Colvin

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made on restructuring the Gibraltar garrison; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Archie Hamilton

As indicated by my right hon. Friend the Member for Ayr (Mr. Younger) in his statement on 30 January, we have considered the matter in detail and have decided not to retain a resident infantry battalion in Gibraltar after March 1991, when the current tour of the 3rd battalion Royal Green Jackets ends. Some of the tasks currently undertaken by the resident battalion, including ceremonial duties, will in future be performed by the Gibraltar Regiment, the permanent cadre of which will be more than doubled. The establishment of a part-time company and home service force company will allow the regiment to reorganise into an all-infantry force of three rifle companies with the appropriate command and support elements. The Artillery Battery and Air Defence Troop will no longer be required, although the personnel in these units will be given the opportunity to remain in the restructured regiment. The Gibraltar Regiment Corps of Drums will be retained, and in addition a military band will be provided for certain important occasions. Separately, we are also reviewing the arrangements in Gibraltar for logistics support, and for command and control with a view to establishing a joint force headquarters.