HC Deb 13 March 2003 vol 401 cc19-20WS
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Geoffrey Hoon)

In a statement on 20 January 2003,Official Report, columns 34–35, I informed the House of the Government's decision to deploy a land force package led by Headquarters 1 (UK) Armoured Division to provide military capabilities for potential military action against Iraq. This deployment has made good progress.

I told the House that operational planning continued to evolve. In order to provide Headquarters 1 (UK) Armoured Division with further flexibility to respond to a range of possible tasks and circumstances, we now plan to deploy two additional units. Members of the 1st Battalion The Duke of Wellington's Regiment will deploy to provide additional infantry capability. 202 Field Hospital (Volunteer) will deploy to provide additional medical capability. We had originally envisaged that 202 Field Hospital (Volunteer) would replace 33 Field Hospital, which is already deployed. We now plan that 33 Field Hospital will remain in theatre, along with 34 Field Hospital and 202 Field Hospital (Volunteer), for the time being.

These changes involve some 850 personnel; the total size of the deployment remains about 45,000 personnel.