British PM Rishi Sunak announces plan to bring back mandatory national service

british pm rishi sunak announces plan to bring back mandatory national service

Under the proposed plan, 18-year-old Britons would do a military placement or volunteer in community service. (Supplied: British Armed Forces)

Rishi Sunak has unveiled his first new policy leading up to the UK snap election, saying his Conservative Party will bring back mandatory national service for 18-year-old Britons, in a move that has been dubbed "desperate" by the opposing Labour Party.

The national service would require young people to either join the military full-time or volunteer one weekend a month in community service.

Mr Sunak said he believed the service would help young people learn "real world skills, do new things and contribute to their community and our country", as well as fostering "national spirit".

"This is a great country but generations of young people have not had the opportunities or experience they deserve and there are forces trying to divide our society in this increasingly uncertain world," Mr Sunak said.

"I have a clear plan to address this and secure our future. I will bring in a new model of national service to create a shared sense of purpose among our young people and a renewed sense of pride in our country."

Mr Sunak's Conservative Party said the national service would also help divert at-risk young people away from "lives of unemployment and crime", and provide "valuable work experience".

The plan is the first new policy announcement made by Mr Sunak since he called an early general election for July 4.

His party, which has been in power since 2010, has consistently polled behind the opposing Labour Party since January 2022.

A Labour spokesperson said the plan was "another desperate £2.5 billion unfunded commitment" from the Conservative Party who "already crashed the economy, sending mortgages rocketing".

"This is not a plan – it's a review which could cost billions and is only needed because the Tories (Conservatives) hollowed out the armed forces to their smallest size since Napoleon," the spokesperson said.

Liberal Democrat defence spokesperson and member of parliament Richard Foord said the Conservative Party had made "damaging cuts" to defence forces.

"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," Mr Foord said.

"Our armed forces were once the envy of the world. This Conservative government has cut troop numbers and is planning more cuts to the size of the army."

The options for the national service would include full-time, 12-month placements in the armed forces or cyber defence, or volunteering 25 days a year in community organisations such as fire and rescue services, police, the National Health Service (NHS) or charities that work with the elderly.

A new royal commission would establish the details of the plan.

The details include possible non-criminal sanctions for any young people who refused to take part in the service, Sky News reported quoting sources in the Conservative Party.

The cost of the scheme is estimated at about £2.5bn ($4.8bn), the BBC reported.

The UK had a national service, where men between the ages 17 and 21 were required to serve in the military for 18 months, from 1947 to 1960.

Several other European countries, including Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark, already have a form of mandatory military service. Denmark announced a plan this month to expand mandatory national service to young women.

OTHER NEWS

21 minutes ago

"I'd rather not make the playoffs" - Draymond Green on why losing in the NBA Finals is the 'absolute 'worst'

21 minutes ago

Romania vs Ukraine lineups: Starting XIs, confirmed team news and injury latest for Euro 2024 game today

21 minutes ago

Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder Talk Mushrooms, Stand-Up, and "Hacks" Season 3 | IMDb

21 minutes ago

Market volatility is 'about to pick up': Sam Stovall

21 minutes ago

Netanyahu dissolves his powerful war cabinet after key member quit

21 minutes ago

Afrikaans singer dies, losing his battle against MS

21 minutes ago

Hungary's number 9 Martin Adam responds to Euro 2024 memes: "I was born like this"

21 minutes ago

Kaizer Chiefs could offer legendary goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune a new contract at the PSL club

21 minutes ago

Latvia sent first batch of drones to Ukraine, preparing second one

21 minutes ago

Millwall head coach Neil Harris pays tribute to Matija Sarkic after his death at 26

21 minutes ago

The IRS wants to end another major tax loophole for the wealthy and raise $50 billion in the process

21 minutes ago

Italy Coast Guard searches missing migrants after shipwreck off Calabrian coast: 12 rescued, 1 dead

21 minutes ago

England fans call for urgent review of Euro 2024 travel plans after ‘dangerous overcrowding’ at Serbia game

21 minutes ago

Rory McIlroy makes swift Pinehurst exit after US Open heartbreak

21 minutes ago

Is this pint-sized electric vehicle about to be big disruptor in US?

21 minutes ago

Bosch: Legacy Season 3- What's Happening With The Jerry Edgar Spin Off Series?

21 minutes ago

Report debunks 33 false claims about renewable energy

21 minutes ago

Beauty fans bag ‘free’ Kiehl’s eye cream worth £30 in deal that’s cheaper than Boots

25 minutes ago

She thought pain was a pulled muscle... but scans revealed blood clots

25 minutes ago

Dan Walker says he's missed out on amazing jobs because of his Christian beliefs

27 minutes ago

Lion City Sailors’ Song Ui-young relishing new roles on and off the field

27 minutes ago

Sabalenka to skip Paris Olympics

27 minutes ago

ST Full-time Report: Hassan Sunny to donate money from China fans to charity | Shanti Pereira announces engagement

27 minutes ago

Chinese premier’s Australia visit overshadowed by officials’ apparent attempt to block Cheng Lei’s view at event

27 minutes ago

'Trump had severe memory issues': Writer details his meetings with Trump for new book

27 minutes ago

London trains cancelled as drivers refuse to work extra shift during England's Euro 2024 opener

27 minutes ago

Euro 2024 diary: missing underpants and lost confidence as Scotland hit Germany

27 minutes ago

PFF Names 1 Browns Player To All-Breakout Team

27 minutes ago

Explosion at Military Training Ground Results in Casualties

27 minutes ago

Mavericks vs. Celtics odds, score prediction, time: 2024 NBA Finals picks, Game 5 best bets from proven model

30 minutes ago

Search for missing woman in South Carolina ends with discovery in Australia

32 minutes ago

Treasury, IRS unveil plan to close ‘major tax loophole’ used by large partnerships

32 minutes ago

Britain's Airbnb hotspots revealed: The 'ruined' coastal towns with the most holiday rentals

32 minutes ago

Revealed: Why Thibaut Courtois isn't playing for Belgium at Euro 2024 despite playing in the Champions League final... as Nottingham Forest's Matz Sels and Luton's Thomas Kaminski get the nod

32 minutes ago

Wout Weghorst underlines desire to start for the Netherlands after the former Man United forward's instant impact against Poland

35 minutes ago

Reform UK manifesto launch - what Nigel Farage's party will claim amidst BNP row

36 minutes ago

Veteran investor David Roche 'optimistic' U.S. rate cuts are coming

36 minutes ago

‘Insidious forces are at work’: ‘Inaction’ by government on Jew hate speech is ‘capitulation’

36 minutes ago

Tony Awards 2024: The Complete Winners List

36 minutes ago

Stock Market Today: Stocks mixed ahead of Juneteenth week split