§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Bach)
Following the expiry of the call-out order made last January, I am informing the House that a new order has been made under the Reserve Forces Act 1996 so that Reservists may continue to be called out into service to support operations in Iraq. The new order is effective until 6 January 2005.
Some 8,500 reservists were called out and accepted into service under the order made last year. The proportion of reservists deployed with the UK force in theatre is currently just under 20 per cent, but this is expected to reduce to just over 10 per cent during the course of the year. The next tranche of Reservists, involving some 1,100 personnel, will shortly be called out for mobilisation and then deployed in early April where the majority will complete six-month tours. We will continue to keep the size and mix of forces in theatre under careful review. We are very appreciative of the continuing support and commitment shown by Reservists and their employers.