Tory pledges to fight cuts at Chivenor

SIR - It has been excellent to see the consensus of great concern amongthe main political parties in North Devon in relation to the threatened cuts to the Search and Rescue service which would see RAF Chivenor reduced to daytime cover only. Congratulation

SIR - It has been excellent to see the consensus of great concern amongthe main political parties in North Devon in relation to the threatened cuts to the Search and Rescue service which would see RAF Chivenor reduced to daytime cover only.

Congratulations to Bob and Judith Thompson from Ilfracombe on spearheading the campaign and having built a Facebook Page with more than 11,000 supporters.

While it is appreciated that we have only been fed certain information, North Devon will lose out should this reduction go through.

Our Liberal Democrat MP has acknowledged publicly that our best hope would be to influence review under "a new Government."

Consequently, I should like to assure readers that, as North Devon's Conservative MP after the next election, I should campaign very hard for that to take place.

We Conservatives have promised a Strategic Defence Review already so let us trust that early opportunity will arise for that. Liam Fox MP, Shadow Defence Secretary, called at Chivenor Search and Rescue himself 18 months ago to see first-hand the wonderful job completed there.

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Conservatives have stated clearly we are not opposed to the principle of contractorisation, part of the service is already contractorised, but we are deeply concerned that a project of this importance and magnitude should be rushed through in the teeth of a general election.

Given the Government's record on PFIs, and its performance on helicopter contracts especially, we will want, if elected, to look at the fine details of the contract. One key area is the level of penalties - and the let outs - for performance failure. Lives are at stake.

There is also a wider point that, given that a quarter of the manning will continue to be provided by uniformed pilots, it seems very sad to abandon RAF and RN livery, thus severing an important tie between the armed forces and the wider community.

Philip J Milton

Prospective Member of Parliament

for North Devon

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