Ex MI6 Chief Says Brits Must Be Prepared To Be Called Up To Defend Their Country

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UK army

Brits should be prepared to be called up to fight for their country, according to former MI6 chief Sir Alex Younger.

Younger said Britons had been ‘infantilised’ since the end of the Cold War and the Government should consider having the power to ‘compel’ people to serve.

Just stopping short of calling for full conscription, he said that ministers needed to plan how citizens could be mobilized.

The Mail Online reports: In an interview with the BBC‘s Today Podcast, the former spook suggested a similar model to Sweden where conscription is partial so not everyone is drafted.

Sir Alex said it was ‘rubbish’ to think ‘we’re in some kind of intrinsically safer world, where democracy is intrinsically secure’.

He said Western nations have had the ‘luxury’ of ‘outsourcing defence to professional armies with whom they have an increasingly detached relationship’.

‘I don’t think this is about blanket conscription,’ he said. ‘But I think it is about thinking about ways in which the broader country would participate and contribute to security in a time of an emergency, which you know is no longer impossible to imagine.’

He called for stronger military capabilities, and said that there are a ‘set of key skills’ that would be needed in a hybrid war that are ‘more broadly represented across the whole of society’.

‘I think we need a completely different approach to, for instance, our reserve forces which allow us to call on those people in the event of an emergency.

‘And then ultimately, in extremis, I think we’d be looking at something like the model I understand exists in places like Sweden where the government theoretically has the power to compel people to give their service one way or another but doesn’t exercise it except in areas where it’s really needed.

‘You’ll notice on that list is not everyone being called up and going to the drafting session, I think that’s extremely unlikely.’

His comments come after the head of the Army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, said Britain should train a ‘citizen army’ ready to fight a war on land in the future.

Niamh Harris
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