I am concerned by a report in the Times that the Royal Marines may be cut to meet a £10 billion shortfall over the next decade. This would be quite unacceptable and I hope this speculation is unfounded. The article specified that one of the three, frontline Commando units may be axed. It’s thought that any savings could be used to man our two, new aircraft carriers, the first of which is due to come on line in 2021. Responding to the claims, Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “What I am saying to you is we have 7,000 Royal Marines and it is for the First Sea Lord, who runs the Royal Navy, to look all the time at the balance between marines and sailors, and I have not agreed any cut in the size of the Royal Marines.” I would strongly advise the Defence Secretary to keep his hands off our Armed Forces and to start arguing very strongly indeed for more funding. The Royal Marines are a superb and highly professional Corps, which has served with great distinction in all our recent conflicts. They also provide recruits for the Special Boat Service which, along with the SAS, is unmatched elsewhere in the world. We need these units and the extraordinary men who serve in them more than ever before and it really is time to stop cutting and start investing. Along with others, I have been pointing out for some time that we don’t have enough sailors to crew the new aircraft carriers. But, that doesn’t mean that we dull the spearhead further to meet budget cuts that have no logic in an increasingly dangerous and unstable world.