UK & World News
Philip Hammond Heckled By Retired Army Colonel
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond was heckled by a retired colonel during a speech to the Tory party conference in which he hailed the Government's defence cuts.
Colonel Ian Brazier interrupted Mr Hammond's speech in Manchester on Sunday to claim the Ministry of Defence had betrayed members of the Royal Fusiliers by cutting the regiment back.
The retired officer spoke up as more than 50,000 took to the streets outside the conference hall to protest over changes to the NHS.
The marchers said they aimed to highlight the impact of Government policies on healthcare jobs and the selling off of lucrative parts of the NHS to private companies.
At one point, the protest snaked through Manchester's centre for more than a mile.
Many of those taking part booed as they went past the venue and there were reports that the noise could be heard inside.
Mr Hammond's speech aimed to justify the Government's changes to the armed forces, which he said were turning them into an "efficient and strategic organisation."
Getting up out of his seat, Colonel Brazier said: "Tell the truth about the disbandment of the Fusiliers.
"I write you letters, you don't respond. The public must know the truth - the Fusiliers are loyal soldiers, you have betrayed them.
"Sir, you need to be looking at defence. This is denial, not defence. You're a disgrace."
Mr Hammond promised to speak to Colonel Brazier, a Conservative party member, before he was ushered out of the hall by security guards.
Speaking outside the main hall to reporters, Col Brazier, chairman of the Fusiliers Association, said he was speaking on "behalf of all retired fusiliers".
He was accompanied by Captain Joe Eastwood, 76, from Cambridge, when he interrupted Mr Hammond.
Col Brazier, 59, added: "I am very angry about the fact the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers (2RRF), is to be disbanded.
"We were not in the disbandment plan. We were substituted at the last minute, for reasons we have yet to be told. Freedom of Information requests have been denied, written requests have been denied because it is embarrassing.
Col Brazier added: "It's not just about reviews and money. I know Mr Hammond is a banker and he obviously behaves like one.
"What he has to do is look at the need. Of course there have to be cuts but make them rational, make them about manning, make them about capability, make them about recruiting."
Col Brazier said Mr Hammond should now be replaced as Defence Secretary by somebody "who knows what they are doing".
Mr Hammond said the decision was made by the Army.
"If they'd stayed in the hall a bit longer they would have heard the case that I was building in my speech for why we have to invest in the new capabilities we need to defend Britain," he told Sky News.
The Royal Fusiliers are being disbanded as part of the Government's Army 2020 strategy, which is reducing Army strength from 102,000 to 82,000.