Helen Grant MP ramped up her campaign to prevent the closure of Invicta Park Barracks this week, as she chaired a meeting of MPs who share similar concerns about the proposed base closures in their respective constituencies.
A number of MPs attended the meeting in Parliament from right across the United Kingdom, from Inverness in the North East to Pembrokeshire in the South West and many places in between. They also came from a broad range of political parties to share their thoughts about the Government's Better Defence Estate Strategy.
The discussion centred on the MPs' fears about the impact that the proposed base closures will have on their communities and also on the ability of the army to recruit and retain the best service personnel. Helen raised with other members the particularly significant effect that this decision will have upon the serving Gurkhas and Maidstone's Nepalese population as a whole.
As a result of the meeting, Helen is stepping up her campaign to prevent the barracks from closing. The group of MPs are in the process of applying for a parliamentary debate on the matter to place on record their opposition to the decisions and to provide an opportunity to press the Minister further. Mrs Grant is also launching a petition to garner public support for the campaign.
Helen said: 'The meeting was a very welcome chance to compare notes with other MPs about their opposition to the proposed base closures across the United Kingdom. It is clear that I am not the only person with concerns about the Better Defence Estate Strategy and the impact that it will have on our local communities and on service personnel and their families. This decision is not fair on those who give so much to our country and deserve to be treated with a great deal more compassion and understanding. This rings particularly true for our Gurkhas to whom Maidstone has become their long term home and for whom the closure of the base would cause the greatest wrench. I look forward to continuing to work in partnership with this group of MPs to convince the MoD to reverse the decision to close Invicta Park Barracks.'