• Wednesday, June 12, 2024


Sunak stands by national service plan during election campaign

He warned against assuming the election outcome was certain and highlighted his past comebacks. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Rishi Sunak has reaffirmed his commitment to introducing mandatory national service if he is re-elected, despite facing criticism from within his own party. Sunak described the initiative as “bold action” necessary for ensuring a secure future for the country.

On the campaign trail on Monday at Chesham Football Club, north of London, Sunak said, “I believe this is the right thing to do, because this is how we’ll deliver a secure future for everyone and our country.” He added, “It’s a clear plan, bold action.”

Under Sunak’s plan, 18-year-olds can either spend one weekend a month volunteering for a year or join the armed forces for a year, with 30,000 spaces available.

These comments come as parties campaign ahead of the 4 July national election, with Conservatives trailing Labour by about 20 points.

Sunak’s call for a summer election surprised his party, with some members frustrated by the timing.

Steve Baker, Britain’s minister for Northern Ireland and a supporter of Liz Truss in the 2022 leadership contest, criticised the policy and its lack of transparency.

“Candidates are not involved and even relevant secretaries of state are taken by surprise when policy is announced. It is perhaps the worst aspect of the democratic process and I have no reason to think it is not common to the Labour party,” Baker said.

“When people are doing no harm, government should leave them to work through their own virtues and vices in voluntary association with other people,” he added.


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