HC Deb 23 October 2000 vol 355 c35W
Mr. Bill O'Brien

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans he has to recruit another battalion of Gurkhas; and if he will make a statement; [133880]

(2) how many Gurkha troops are serving in the Army; what percentage that is of British infantry; and if he will make a statement. [133875]

Mr. Spellar

I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Totnes (Mr. Steen) on 1 December 1999,Official Report, column 191W, which stated that we have extended the Gurkha Reinforcement Companies and introduced a second Gurkha Engineer Squadron and Gurkha Signal Squadron. We have no current plans to recruit another Battalion of Gurkhas.

There are 3,357 Gurkhas currently serving with the British Army, of whom approximately 2,100 serve in an infantry role. This represents 7.7 per cent. of the whole Army infantry strength.