A productive meeting was held on 21 February between MOD officials and representatives of North Yorkshire county council, Harrogate district council and Ripon city council to discuss Claro barracks. The MOD will remain engaged at this level.
On Saturday, the Royal Engineers celebrated their freedom of the city of Ripon with the most incredible display of kit and personnel, and the corps band played brilliantly at the beating of the retreat. If there is any opportunity to keep the Royal Engineers in Ripon for a minute longer, for half a year longer or for decades longer, we will take it. May I urge Ministers to keep thinking of Ripon as they look at the rebasing strategy?
May I join my hon. Friend in congratulating the Royal Engineers on their achievements overall and, in particular, on gaining the freedom of the city of Ripon? He knows, because we have discussed it, that I plan to visit Ripon shortly, and I look forward to that very much. I would like to be able to give him some comfort on his question, but the Army basing plan is a highly credible document that will right-size the Army for the future and so I want to manage his expectations.