James Cleverly makes astonishing admission that 18-year-olds doing their National Service 'may get deployed'

James Cleverly makes astonishing admission that 18-year-olds doing their National Service 'may get deployed'

WATCH NOW: James Cleverly is grilled on Rishi Sunak's National Service pledge

GB News
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce

Published: 26/05/2024

- 13:48

Updated: 26/05/2024

- 14:19

Rishi Sunak has pledged to introduce national service for 18-year-olds if the Conservatives win the election

Home Secretary James Cleverly has revealed a key detail in Rishi Sunak's latest election pledge, as the Prime Minister announced he would "bring back national service" if the Tories were to be re-elected.

Outlining his plans in the Mail on Sunday, Sunak said the new model would provide "life-changing opportunities for young people" and allow them to learn "real world skills".

Defending the decision on GB News, the Home Secretary said the implementation of national service would address the "fragmentation" and "polarising" of today's society in Britain.

Speaking to host Camilla Tominey, Cleverly said of the plans: "We do need to take action to kind of rebuild that societal cohesion.

Rishi Sunak and James Cleverly

Home Secretary James Cleverly has revealed key details about Sunak's plan for national service

PA / GB News

"And actually having having people mix from different geographies, different ethnicities, different religions, different social classes, different income levels, and getting that, getting to know each other, I think is a really important part."

Camilla then highlighted a point made by former Defence Secretary Michael Portillo, who claimed the proposal is "poorly executed" and another "desperate attempt" by the Conservatives to win votes.

Camilla scolded Cleverly: "You've failed on immigration, both legal and illegal. This is like you're in Last Chance Saloon and you've come up with this policy out of nowhere?"

Cleverly disagreed with Camilla, responding: "There is actually a long standing tradition of looking at ways that we can invest in our young people. Right at the start of my political career, I put forward a plan for young people to be more involved in things like uniformed youth groups to help address youth criminality and youth violence."

Rishi Sunak

Rishi Sunak has pledged to implement 'compulsory' national service as part of his manifesto


Revealing more details about the mandatory national service for 18-year-olds, Cleverly admitted that although the military element of the service will be "voluntary", there is a chance those taking part "could be deployed".

When pressed for more information on the military part of the proposed national service, Cleverly told GB News: "The military bit of this will be limited to about 30,000 people. That bit will be voluntary.


"So the scheme over all will be compulsory, but the military bit will only be for people who volunteer to do that element of it."

When asked to confirm if the service will require those 18-year-olds to be deployed in the "worst case scenario", the Home Secretary admitted: "There is of course, always the chance that someone who is in the military gets deployed.

"But the point we're saying very, very clearly is that no one will be compelled to do the military element."

James Cleverly

James Cleverly said the military element of the proposed national service will be 'voluntary'

GB News

Camilla asked Cleverly to confirm again, stating that the plan would result in "a well-meaning 18 year old signing up to do some military service, could end up being deployed to the front line".

Cleverly replied: "Any 18-year-old, whether they join in the more traditional routes... 16-year-olds, of course, can't be deployed, those going to the college, the Harrogate Military College can't be deployed.

"But someone who joined the military at 18, of course it is the military. But as I say, no one is compelled to do that. And there are plenty of roles within that which are support functions, logistics functions or the cyber security element of it, which of course will not have a deployable element.

"It is really important to say, that no one is compelled to do the military bit."

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