Do you back Rishi Sunak’s plans for national service? Join The Independent Debate

Finnish conscripts are seen resting during a military trainin (AFP/Getty Images)
Finnish conscripts are seen resting during a military trainin (AFP/Getty Images)

Teenagers would be made to do national service after their eighteenth birthday if Rishi Sunak’s Tories win the general election.

It was the Conservatives’ first major policy proposal since Mr Sunak hastily announced the general election in the pouring rain on Wednesday afternoon.

The prime minister insisted his plans for mandatory national service would help unite society in an “increasingly uncertain world” and give young people a “shared sense of purpose”.

The exact plans remain vague, but the party said young people would be given a choice between a full-time placement in the armed forces for 12 months or spending one weekend a month for a year “volunteering,” in their community.

Labour frontbencher Liz Kendall accused the Conservatives of merely “asking young people to solve the problems in the NHS, the police and the armed services that the Tories themselves have created”.

Lib Dem defence spokesperson Richard Foord MP added: “If the Conservatives were serious about defence, they would reverse their damaging cuts to our world-class professional armed forces, instead of decimating them, with swingeing cuts to the number of our regular service personnel.”

And Justin Crump, a defence expert and veteran of 25 years, told Sky News the plans were “ill-thought through” and would be an “enormous potential burden” on Britain’s military, adding: “It’s certainly not the solution to the military’s problems and I think everyone I’ve spoken to this morning still has their head in their hands.”

Now we want to know what you think. Do you back Mr Sunak’s plans for national service?

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