Tell us our beloved Red Arrows are safe, demands MP Edward Leigh
A Gainsborough MP is demanding the Government clarifies the future of the Red Arrows after fears they could be axed.
Conservative Edward Leigh is seeking answers from ministers amid speculation the elite aerobatic unit could be disbanded in a new wave of defence cuts.
Downing Street quickly denied claims by the Daily Mirror about the RAF Scampton based team insisting they "are not true".
Mr Leigh has now tabled an urgent written question in the House of Commons about the iconic air display team which is believed to cost £9 million a year to run.
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He said: "I have demanded answers on the future of the Red Arrows.
"It would be a real insult to these pilots and ground crew who fly the flag for Britain at home and abroad to close their world-beating team. When they bring so much delight to millions and promote our interests abroad, it seems perverse to even consider.
"It would be particularly poignant to close their unit so soon after Flight Lieutenants Jon Egging and Sean Cunningham demonstrated the grave risks our pilots face on a daily basis. They gave their lives while doing what they loved and serving the nation."
The Daily Mirror reported claims the Red Arrows faced the axe were from sources who were with the Prime Minister in Liberia.
Councillor Roger Patterson, who represents the Scampton ward for West Lindsey District Council, said the loss would be "devastating".
But he added it was likely the Government has included the Arrows in their review of areas which could be cut.
"People across the world know about Lincolnshire and Scampton because of them," he said. "They bring pleasure to a lot of people and they are a symbol of Lincolnshire.
"I think it's one area the Government should keep its hands off.
"If they get rid of the Red Arrows there is no way back – they would disappear for the good because the costs would be astronomical."
Mr Patterson says the revenue the Red Arrows generate outweighs their cost.
"In the whole defence budget, it's a drop in the ocean," he said.
Jon Bloom, who was a Red Arrows engineer between 1990 and 1998, said he thought the team was not at risk.
"There's not a chance they will get rid of them because they help to promote the nation and its good public relations for the RAF," he said.
"They are an ambassador for Great Britain and our county.
"Some people think they are a waste of money, but a lot of others would think they would be a big loss. The issue comes up every two or three years when the Government is looking at cuts and there are always rumours."
Mr Leigh, who has also led calls for Arrows to remain at Scampton, submitted his question on February 4. He was told he would receive a response by Thursday, February 7.
Losing the Red Arrows would be huge blow to the county's economy. Tourism bosses say the team, who were formed in 1964, are worth £1.5 million to the county.