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No one goes to jail for dodging British national service, says Cleverly | conservative

No one goes to jail for dodging British national service, says Cleverly |  conservative

 


No teenager would be sent to prison for avoiding mandatory national service as proposed by the Conservatives, James Cleverly has insisted.

Britain's home secretary said young people would not face criminal sanctions if they refused to join the military or volunteer under Conservative plans.

In his first major policy announcement of the election campaign, Rishi Sunak pledged to introduce a form of compulsory national service that would see 18-year-olds join the military for 12 months or volunteer on weekends.

The Prime Minister said the policy would help unite society and give young people a shared sense of purpose in an increasingly uncertain world.

The announcement drew ridicule and questions about what sanctions would be imposed on young people who refuse.

There will be no criminal punishment. No one is going to jail over this, Cleverly told Sky News Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips.

This addresses what we know to be true: social division. Too many young people live in bubbles within their own communities. They do not mix with people of other religions and do not mix with other viewpoints.

Labor dismissed the proposal as another unserious and unfunded promise.

The Conservatives say they will pay the price by cracking down on tax evasion and evasion. External figures estimate that we could secure $6 billion, $1 billion of which would be set aside for this, Cleverly told the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg on Sunday.

Tory estimated that introducing the policy would cost $2.5 billion a year by the end of the decade. The remaining $1.5 billion will come from expanding the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, designed to regenerate underfunded cities across the UK.

Nigel Farage, honorary chairman of Reform UK, said proposals for compulsory national service were a joke and designed to appeal to voters in his own party.

You focus group follows what you say. This allows me to attack the reform vote. That's it. And look, it's completely impractical. In the 14 years of Conservative rule, the army has shrunk from 100,000 to 75,000, Farage told Sky.

The Conservatives said the plan would allow young people who choose to volunteer rather than serve in the military to help local fire departments, police, NHS services and charities tackle loneliness and support older people.

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Youth who choose military deployments will learn and participate in logistics, cybersecurity, procurement or civil response operations, the party said.

Sunak is trying to make global security a dividing line in the general election. On Saturday he said voters would be at risk if Labor won.

Labor pointed out that David Cameron introduced a similar plan called the National Citizen Service without the military when he was prime minister.

This is not a review plan that could cost billions of dollars and is necessary as the Conservatives have reduced the military to its smallest size since Napoleon, a Labor spokesman said.

Britain has suffocated a Conservative Party that is ideologically bankrupt and has no plan to end 14 years of chaos. Now is the time to turn the page and rebuild Britain with Labor.

Sources

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2/ https://www.theguardian.com/politics/article/2024/may/26/no-one-going-to-jail-for-avoiding-uk-national-service-says-cleverly

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