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East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson has criticised 'penny pinching', cuts to Royal Navy reservists. He raised the issue in the House of Commons following reports that 2,700 reservists would be stood down until April next year in a bid to save £7.5million.

Mr Robinson, who is a member of the Defence Select Committee in Parliament said afterwards, "Northern Ireland has a very proud history of services across our armed forces, but we have a particularly high level of participation in the reserve forces.

Local members, and those right across the UK find it deeply demoralising to read in a newspaper that training and drill is to be "paused" in order to save a total of £7.5million. Army reserve training will not be stood down, but will be cut from 38 to 32 days also.

This report appears less than 24 hours after the Defence Committee spent two hours interrogating MoD accounts yet there was no mention of such news that so many Royal Navy reservists would be stood down.

This is a decision which is both short-sighted and ill-judged yet neither Members of Parliament nor those directly affected by the decision have had any warning or ability to question its rationale.

Over recent years the importance of our reserve forces has been increasingly highlighted and their numbers boosted accordingly. They are an integral part of our nation's defences and they deserve to be treated better than to read about their future in a newspaper article."