HC Deb 01 December 1999 vol 340 c191W
Mr. Steen

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will recruit more Gurkhas into the British Army to bring the force up to operational strength. [100429]

Mr. Spellar

It is already planned that to alleviate under-manning we have extended the Gurkha Reinforcement Companies and are introducing a second Gurkha Engineer Squadron and a second Gurkha Signals Squadron. There are 3,500 Gurkhas serving with the British Army and this represents the optimum to alleviate under-manning in the short term while taking account of excess manpower when we revert to full manning.