'Guilty as charged!' Minister defends 'woke' Army recruitment strategy

'Guilty as charged!' Minister defends 'woke' Army recruitment strategy

WATCH: Mark Francois MP speaks to GB News

GB News
George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 20/02/2024

- 07:38

Updated: 20/02/2024

- 09:01

Andrew Murrison told MPs that the Armed Forces must reflect today’s society

A defence minister has defended a controversial "'woke" recruitment strategy for the Armed Forces.

Minister for Defence People and Families Andrew Murrison said that it is crucial to make the military a more inclusive and diverse workspace.

It comes after Defence Secretary Grant Shapps ordered a review in response to claims a "woke" and "extremist" culture had "infiltrated" the military.

Murrison was asked by former Reclaim MP Andrew Bridgen if he believed "the rise of woke makes it easier or more difficult to recruit the right sort of people into our Armed Forces."

\u200bMinister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Andrew Murrison MP was speaking to MPs

Minister for Defence People, Veterans and Service Families, Andrew Murrison MP was speaking to MPs


Murrison said: "If he’s talking about increasing the amount of women in our Armed Forces, if he’s talking about Lord Etherton’s review into LGBT historically in our Armed Forces, if he’s talking about our ambition to make our Armed Forces more reflective of the society from which they’re drawn and which they serve, then I’m guilty as charged."

The comments come as the military is suffering a recruitment crisis and has repeatedly failed to meet its targets, including boosting women and ethnic minority numbers.

However, women in the Armed Forces told them that Shapps' comments had left them feeling "unsafe."

A source close to the Defence Secretary told The Telegraph: "We are all in favour of more women and equal opportunities, and correcting historic wrongs on homosexuality. But you can do that and still object to poisonous politics and agenda."


\u200bDefence Secretary Grant Shapps MP

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps MP


Dr Murrison also insisted that security checks would not be relaxed in order to boost recruitment figures.

He added: "We take security extremely seriously and ensure all personnel have security clearance appropriate to their job.

"Checks normally require at least three years’ UK residency, but Commonwealth candidates are permitted to accrue qualifying residency while serving, although they cannot take up roles and ranks which require higher levels of vetting.

"This policy has been in place for several years and it hasn’t changed."

Recruitment targets have been consistently missed by the British armed forces with ethnic minorities making up just 14 per cent of the regular army.

A leaked document, titled The British Army’s Race Action Plan, suggests the army “struggles to attract talent from ethnic minority backgrounds into the officer corps”.

The document is understood to represent the latest guidance and suggests that security clearance vetting is “the primary barrier to non-UK personnel gaining a commission in the Army”.

In response, Shapps said: “I am committed to improving the working conditions and morale of all those who work in the military and Ministry of Defence. This is not only the right thing to do but is key to improving recruitment and retainment in our forces."

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