Prime Minister's £2.5b National Service plans win backing of Harrogate MP who says it is a "good thing"

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Harrogate and Knaresborough’s sitting MP has revealed where he stands on Rishi Sunak’s plans to revive a form of National Service.

While supporting the Prime Minister’s controversial £2.5 billion idea, Andrew Jones said what was being proposed was not “conscription” but it was the right thing to do.

“I think it is right that we encourage young people to be part of our civil society and right that we offer serious options to help 18-year-olds to have a broader range of experiences,” said Mr Jones.

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“The scheme outlined by the Prime Minister will enable young people to use their skills to combat the growing threat of cyber security and work in military logistics.

Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough Andrew Jones who supports the Prime Minister’s £2.5 billion National Service idea. (Picture contributed)Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough Andrew Jones who supports the Prime Minister’s £2.5 billion National Service idea. (Picture contributed)
Conservative MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough Andrew Jones who supports the Prime Minister’s £2.5 billion National Service idea. (Picture contributed)

"To portray this as conscription or anything like it is not correct."

The Prime Minister insisted at the weekend that his plans for mandatory National Service would help unite society in an “increasingly uncertain world” and give youngsters a “shared sense of purpose”.

Mr Jones, who is fighting as a Conservative in his fifth successive General Election, said supporting youngsters to volunteer in the community was a “good thing”.

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“Many young people who I meet when I visit schools already volunteer in their community or want to know more about how they can do so.

"Supporting them to find the best way to volunteer in the community is a good thing.

"This is a model already operating in some Scandinavian countries.”

"There are so many areas where our community’s civil response operations would benefit from more people able to apply knowledge and skills to a problem.

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"I’m thinking of things like flooding, water safety, volunteering with organisations like the British Red Cross and so on.

"I am sure people could think of many more.”

The surprise initiative has been ridiculed by opposition politicians while the former chief of the naval staff, Admiral Alan West, labelled the plan “bonkers”.

Though it did not involve military service, in 2011 David Cameron introduced a broadly similar scheme called the National Citizen Service.

It was later have been found to have failed to meet government targets or deliver value for money.

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