COLCHESTER MP Sir Bob Russell has quizzed Prime Minister David Cameron over cuts to the Army.

Since 2011, more than 12,000 service personnel have been made redundant under the Ministry of Defence Army 2020 proposals.

Britain’s rapid response unit, 16 Air Assault, based in Colchester, will have lost 3,000 of its 8,000 soldiers by the end of this year.

The Government’s plans is to replace regular soldiers with reservists.

Speaking in the House yesterday, Sir Bob said: “Today is the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Royal Anglian Regiment.

“At that time, it had four regular battalions and three territorial ones.

“Now, it has only two regular battalions and just one reserve battalion.

“Does the Prime Minister accept that, in an increasingly dangerous world, both here and overseas, it is not in Britain’s defence interests to cut the size of the British Army to what it was at the time of Waterloo 200 years ago?”

But Mr Cameron disagreed, saying: “It is in Britain’s interests to make sure that we spend our £33 billion defence budget on the assets that we actually need when facing the conflicts that we face today.

“So we have state-of-the-art Tornadoes that are able to fly over Iraq and Syria to gather intelligence, and we have brand-new Rivet Joint aircraft that can do similar things.

“The investment is absolutely vital for our country.”

The National Audit Office has also previously questioned the cuts, warning replacing regular soldiers with reservists has “significant risks”.