Bombshell news for defence secretary on Brecon visit

By Twm Owen in Local People

Britain’s defence secretary joined soldiers in the Brecon Beacons during a live firing training exercise but the only bombshell was George Osborne’s new job. 

Conservative MP Michael Fallon had been at a Royal Marine base in Chivenor on the north Devon coast, before flying to Brecon, when it was announced on Friday the man who had been David Cameron’s chancellor has been appointed the editor of London daily paper The Evening Standard. 

It was left to Brecon and Radnorshire’s Tory MP Chris Davies to break the surprise news to Mr Fallon about his former cabinet colleague’s shock new job appointment.  

The secretary of state for defence, enjoying  a cup of tea and a cake in the troop shelter at the live firing range at the Epynt military training area, was perplexed when asked which newspaper he would like to edit. 

Mr Davies then explained that George Osborne had been appointed editor of the London free sheet but crucially will remain as the MP for Tatton in Cheshire. 

The Brecon and Radnorshire MP suggested Mr Fallon may like to edit The Brecon & Radnor Express, but the MP for Sevenoaks in Kent said his sights would be closer to home. 

"Which newspaper would I edit given the choice? The Sevenoaks Chronicle, I think," said Mr Fallon. 

At the mock village on the training area above Sennybridge Mr Fallon had joined soldiers who were firing live bullets. 

The Regimental Sergeant Major at the Sennybridge camp, WO1 Michael Jones, of the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment, said Mr Fallon had, with the safety marshal, trailled soldiers firing live ammunition as they made their way across the Epynt ranges. 

"It’s a live fire attack so they make their way across open ground and fire when the electronically controlled targets pop up." 

Earlier Mr Fallon had marked St Patrick’s Day by presenting shamrocks to soldiers from the 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment at the Watton Barracks in Brecon. He was greeted by the soldiers and their regimental mascot, Irish Wolfhound, Brian Boru. 

The Barracks are due to close in 2027 but Mr Fallon again confirmed the Infantry Battle School at Dering Lines and the Sennybridge Camp and training area are to remain open. Mr Fallon said: "The Army’s importance, it’s impact on Brecon will remain." 

He also said he had been holding discussions on the type of lease that could be offered to the Regimental Museum which is adjacent to the Barracks. 


For the full story see The Brecon & Radnor Express - on sale from Wednesday, March 22

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