29 September 2013 Last updated at 16:26
Tories remove Army cuts protesters from conference hall
Colonel Ian Brazier was ejected from the conference hall in Manchester
Two retired soldiers have been ejected from the Conservative Party conference hall after heckling Philip Hammond over defence cuts.
The pair were protesting at plans to axe the second battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers.
Joe Eastwood and Ian Brazier accused Mr Hammond of betraying the regiment.
They refused to sit down when asked to do so by the defence secretary and were escorted from the hall by security guards.
Mr Hammond promised to speak to the retired soldiers.
Speaking afterwards, retired colonel Ian Brazier said the Ministry of Defence had refused to respond to his requests for information on the planned closure of the regiment.
Former members of the Royal Fusiliers are protesting outside the conference
The campaigners, who are protesting outside the Tory conference venue in Manchester, say the second battalion of the Royal Fusiliers, which has a history stretching back 336 years, was added to a list of cuts without any explanation.
Mr Brazier, who joined the Conservative Party last month, said his attempts to get answers had been "frustrated" and "avoided".
"My soldiers, the people I have had the honour of serving with, have been betrayed," he told reporters.
He also attacked the government's wider plans to reduce the size of the Army, saying: "It won't be a defence force. It will be incapable of producing anything like the reach the minister seems to think it will have."
He called for a more "rational" approach to defence spending and urged Prime Minister David Cameron to sack Mr Hammond and "get somebody who knows what they are doing to look after the forces".
BBC News - Tories remove Army cuts protesters from conference hall
Seriously? The party of "law & order" and conservatism (didn't their name coin that phase?) are even disillusioning their own core supporters.
ETA - I found this in The Guardian (a leftwing paper)
Defence secretary Philip Hammond heckled by ex-soldiers
Former army colonels interrupt minister's speech at Tory party conference to protest at disbanding of Lee Rigby's battalion
Ian Brazier and Joe Eastwood speak to the press after interrupting a speech by Philip Hammond at the Tory conference. Photograph: Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images
Two former army colonels dramatically disrupted the speech of the defence secretary, Philip Hammond, at the Conservative party conference, with cries of "you're a disgrace" in protest at his decision to axe the battalion of murdered drummer Lee Rigby.
The Tory cabinet minister was hit with a volley of abuse from protesters about the disbandment of the second battalion of the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers as he gave the first ministerial speech of the conference in Manchester.
As he was heckled from the floor, Hammond tried to get the two men to sit down and offered them a meeting. However, they continued to shout abuse and were led out of the hall by security officials, as the minister talked loudly over them about the armed forces "continuing to serve around the clock".
Speaking afterwards, Ian Brazier and Joe Eastwood, both Conservative voters, said they felt forced to take direct action because Hammond had not responded to their pleas for an explanation and freedom of information requests.
Brazier, who served in the regiment for 34 years, said he was angry that the government was trying to cover up the reasons why the "best recruited battalion" in the army was being axed.
"I was left with no choice," he said. "I have asked, I have written, I have petitioned. I have been denied. It has been evaded and avoided. Yes, I'm angry. My soldiers, the people I had the honour to serve with have been betrayed."
The wider military cost-cutting will destroy Britain's defence force, he said, because it was not being done in a "rational" way.
"It won't be a defence force. It will be incapable of producing anything like the reach the minister thinks it will," he said. "The first duty of government is to defend our nation, not dismantle its defence capability. I thought the Tories understood defence. I'm afraid to say I was wrong."
Brazier said his message to David Cameron was: "Prime minister, you have a duty to the soldiers. Discharge it, sir, and get someone who knows what they are doing to look after the soldiers."
Hammond had been telling his audience about Britain's "determination to stay a leading player on the global stage" on the day it emerged he would create a cybersecurity defence force.
When he said the UK had the "best armed forces in the world with the finest and bravest men and women serving in them", the retired colonels stood up and started shouting at him.
Asked why he would disband the fusiliers battalion, Hammond replied: "They are serving us now as they always serve us round the clock. Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen, would you like to sit down? Would you like to sit down? I'll come and talk to you happily later on, let me complete my speech. Ladies and gentleman what is happening right now as we sit in this conference hall is that our armed forces are serving us as they always serve us."
He continued with his speech but it was later ran into technical difficulties, with the microphone cutting out and big screens losing their picture. *Maybe their techie was ex-forces!
During the speech, Hammond took aim at the Liberal Democrats in particular, attacking their "woolly thinking" over trying to reduce the UK's Trident nuclear system. He also waved a blank sheet of paper, saying that was what Labour's policy amounted to.
And he joked that Labour was as much the party of "iron-fisted spending discipline" as the Liberal Democrats was the party of "ethical election campaigning".
Defence secretary Philip Hammond heckled by ex-soldiers | Politics | theguardian.com