THOUSANDS of people have backed a Waterlooville woman’s petition demanding the government protect Royal Marine numbers from being slashed.
Almost 20,000 supporters have rallied behind the plea of Dominique Hodgson, who is fighting to protect the elite fighting force from cuts.
Her appeal comes amid mounting speculation that up to 1,000 Commando roles could be in the firing line amid potential government cutbacks.
Dom, whose husband Nigel was a Royal Marine for 10 years before being forced to leave the service after having his knee blown off by a car bomb in Northern Ireland, said any reduction to the green berets’ numbers would be scandalous.
The 53-year-old carer said: ‘This is absolutely ridiculous. Never before have we needed our Royal Marines more.
‘Any cuts to them would leave us very vulnerable. The morale in the services would just go. People are shocked that this could happen. Maybe it’s scaremongering. But I picked this up on the news and we can’t risk it. We rely on these guys so much and to treat them with such disrespect is sickening.’
Mrs Hodgson put her appeal up on campaigns site Change.org at the start of the week.
Within two days, more than 15,000 people had signed up to support it.
‘We have a massive veteran community that is right behind us and they’re outraged,’ said Mrs Hodgson, adding: ‘The whole thing has gone berserk. So many people are supporting it, I wasn’t expecting it.’
Mrs Hodgson has already approached SAS hero and author, Andy McNab, in a bid to get him to support the appeal.
She has also written to Meon Valley MP George Hollingbery urging him to lobby prime minister Theresa May on her behalf.
The Tory MP, who is the private secretary to the PM, thanked Mrs Hodgson for her appeal and praised her husband for his service. He added: ‘I have pursued this matter with ministers and have been told that there are no plans for any such steps regarding the Royal Marines at the moment.
‘However, there is to be a comprehensive review of the funding for our armed forces and security services. This position was confirmed by the prime minister at PMQs on Tuesday.
‘I will be watching this matter closely over the coming months and will keep Mrs Hodgson updated on any developments.’
MPs sitting on the defence committee has previously warned any cuts to the Royal Marines would threaten the security of the nation.
To sign the petition, click here.