Diary

What a glorious day. As I headed to London in the morning, the sun got warmer and warmer. Into the office and I started working on my speech for Westminster Hall in the afternoon on the future of reservists. The Government wishes to increase the ratio of regulars to reservists from the current 80:20 to 70:30. I and others believe this thinking to be flawed. Those even showing an interest in joining the reserves has dropped dramatically. We are about 19,000 volunteers short and although that's not a large number to find, our little group thinks that times have changes and employers are less and less keen to see their staff disappearing off for months. A long-awaited white paper on this is long overdue and at the debate this afternoon we were promised it shortly. My own view is that the smaller the regular army becomes, the more full time soldiers it should have. We simply don't have the cash or the training facilities to cope with 30,000 reserves, all competing for fewer facilities desperately needed by the regulars. The Minister, Andrew Robathan, was bullish, but then he had to be. I'm afraid we have cut our armed services to the bone and further and this latest move is all about saving money and not strategy. My speech is also on the website. Later in the afternoon, I began organising a visit to Dorset by the defence minister, Philip Dunne. He's hoping to come down in July and I have three companies lined up. With the sun still shining, the Commons adjourned at 6pm.