TWO politicians normally at each other's throats are both fighting the same corner for once as they strive to keep the Royal Marines' base at Norton Fitzwarren.

Taunton Deane Conservative MP Rebecca Pow and Gideon Amos, her LibDem challenger at the last and probably the next election, are campaigning for 40 Commando to remain at Norton Manor Camp.

The Government announced in 2016 plans to relocate the troops by an estimated date of 2018, with Plymouth widely viewed as a potential new base.

But an assurance from Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson in the House of Commons in October that "there are no plans to move 40 Commando from Taunton" raised false hopes that the move had been scrapped.

Ms Pow, who wrote to Mr Williamson following his comments, has received a reply praising her as "a great advocate for defence, including the 40 Commando Royal Marines".

He added: "I understand the strength of feeling regarding the relocation of military units which have a deep-rooted history within the local community.

"I can confirm that the intent, announced in Parliament in November 2016, is for 40 Commando Royal Marines to remain at Norton Manor Camp until 2028.

"I can also confirm that 40 Commando Royal Marines will remain in the South West in the long term."

Ms Pow told the County Gazette she appreciates the "huge role" the unit plays in our community and the country's defence structure.

She added: "We obviously need to know they've got the very best facilities and equipment to do their job.

"A great deal of time and investment has been spent at Norton Manor Camp and I think there's a real case for ensuring they stay there.

"My next step is to invite the Secretary of State down to see the set up for himself."

Mr Amos, who has a petition calling for the Royal Marines to remain in the area, has received a letter from the Defence Infrastructure Organisation confirming the troops will only be here until 2028.

He said: "It's clear from the letter that the Conservative Government's plan to close Norton Manor Camp and move 40 Commando elsewhere in the South West remains on the cards.

"My petition is still gaining signatures and now is the time to ramp up the effort to get the camp saved from the axe."