HL Deb 22 May 2003 vol 648 cc101-2WA
Lord Ponsonby of Shulbrede

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What plans they have to call-out further Reservists for operations in Iraq. [HL3045]

Lord Bach:

In the Written Statement by my right honourable friend the Defence Secretary (Mr Hoon) on 30 April (Official Report, columns 15–16WS) in another place, we announced the call-out of up to 1,200 additional Reservists to support continuing operations within Iraq. This process is currently under way. We also acknowledged that there would be a further need for Reservists. A requirement for a further 1,500 Reservists has now been confirmed. We have authorised the issue of appropriate call-out notices. These will primarily be deployed, either as formed units or as individual reinforcements to regular units, in support of the Divisional Headquarters and its Logistic Brigade.

In parallel, the process to demobilise those Reservists called up for the first phase of operations continues. To date, we have demobilised around 1,100 Reservists who have completed their required tasks. Further Reservists have returned from operations in Iraq and are currently taking the post-operational tour leave to which they are entitled, following which they will also be demobilised.

There will be a continuing role for our Reserve forces in Iraq, but we expect overall numbers of Reservists required to reduce over time. This further call-out demonstrates our continuing commitment to Iraq and to the Iraqi people. In addition, we continue to plan in detail the withdrawal of forces that have completed their operational tour, and the deployment of further replacement forces to continue to fulfil our responsibilities in Iraq. We will inform the House as soon as these plans become firm. We remain determined to help the Iraqis to set the conditions for Iraq's re-emergence as a country that is both politically secure and economically stable.