THE Cheshire Regiment is safe from the axe or merger in the latest Defence White Paper.
That is the message from Ellesmere Port & Neston Labour MP Andrew Miller.
And he accuses those who suggested the regiment's future as an independent unit might be put at risk by the review of trying to make cheap political gain.
It was back in September that rumours began to circulate that the Cheshires could be merged with other infantry battalions.
It was said that a recruitment crisis could lead to its soldiers being switched to other regiments.
At the time, Mr Miller moved swiftly to stamp on the speculation, which he described as damaging to the regiment, soldiers' families and morale generally.
Last week, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon unveiled his White Paper to Parliament, which calls for a change of emphasis in the Army away from heavy kit such as battle tanks to small, well-equipped and versatile units capable of dealing with threats anywhere in the world.
Mr Miller said: 'Certain people were trying to make cheap political gain by spreading these rumours for more than two years. I consistently said the rumours were wrong and now it has been proved this was the case.
'There were no plans and there are no plans to remove regimental cap badges - and people who said there were should now be prepared to admit they were wrong.'
He added: 'Senior military officers are promoting the process of moving away from bigger pieces of kit which are no longer relevant to modern warfare to small groups of troops equipped with the latest arms and support who can respond to threats anywhere in the world.
'In places such as Sierra Leonne where Britain has acted independently it is vitally important we have troops able to move quickly in any kind of terrain and defend or attack with the appropriate equipment.'
Asked whether the Cheshire Regiment might still be affected by more detailed aspects of the White Paper yet to be finalised Mr Miller said: 'I see nothing on the horizon about which I would panic.'