Posted by Richard Willett - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 28 May 2024

‘Political suicide’? That’s what it’s meant to be: Sunak defends his ‘bold’ National Service plan for teenagers amid a Tory election campaign row as it is branded ‘political suicide’ by party members and sparks backlash from minister who says it was ‘sprung’ on them with no warning

Rishi Sunak tonight defended his ‘bold’ plan to make teenagers do National Service amid a deepening Tory election campaign row over the policy.

The Prime Minister said the policy, which will see 18-year-olds forced to either sign up to the military or cyber defence force, or undertake unpaid community work, would make society ‘more cohesive’ and strengthen the UK’s defence.

Speaking on a campaign visit to Buckinghamshire he said it was ‘bold, but that’s the kind of leadership I offer.’

He added: ‘This modern form of national service will mean that young people get the skills and the opportunities that they need which is going to serve them very well in life.

‘It’s going to foster a culture of service which is going to be incredibly powerful for making our society more cohesive and in a more uncertain and dangerous world it’s going to strengthen our country’s security and resilience.’

But the £2.5billion manifesto pledge, which could see parents fined if their adult children fail to take part and members of the Royal Family told to sign up, prompted criticism as well as support from within Tory ranks

Some party members questioned the logic of landing the Armed Forces with ‘a bunch of yobbos’ and ‘unfit reluctant teenagers’.

And others threatened to move their support at the election to Reform UK because of the effect the policy could have on their own teenage children.

The remarks were made in a Conservative Party Facebook group that includes several serving MPs, though they were not among the critics speaking out.

Meanwhile Steve Baker, the Northern Ireland Minister, broke ranks today to suggest the policy unveiled at the weekend was ‘sprung’ on candidates with little or no warning.

Some former military chiefs have also criticised it, while Labour has branded it the ‘teenage Dad’s Army’.

But other ministers have spoken up in support of the measure today.

Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer, a former soldier, said: ‘Predictable reaction to the National Service policy from the usual quarters.

‘Anything that unites communities with a sense of service and awareness of what the other organisations do is great. And it gives pride and purpose and challenge to those that often feel most left behind.’

And Writing for MailOnline today FCDO minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said that the scheme would teach practical and soft skills ‘which cannot be taught in the classroom or the lecture theatre’.

In the Facebook group for Conservative Party members, criticism seen by MailOnline was blunt, saying it was ‘an ill thought out idea to try and appeal to a boomer demographic’ of retirees born in the two decades after the Second World War.

One member wrote that the proposal was ‘bonkers’, adding: ‘[National Service] was cancelled because it was unpopular both with the military as well as the conscripts.’

‘This policy is political suicide both for the PM and for the party. We’ll be out of power for at least a decade.’

Read More: Rishi Sunak defends his ‘bold’ National Service plan for teenagers

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