Parents Could Be Punished If Children Refuse National Service, Suggests Minister

Anne-Marie Trevelyan does not rule out fines under new Tory scheme.
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Parents could be punished if their children refuse to sign up to the Conservative’s national service programme, a minister has suggested.

Rishi Sunak has said he will introduce a new “mandatory” scheme in which every 18-year-old would have to either join the military or spend one weekend a month carrying out a community service.

In an interview on Monday, Anne-Marie Trevelyan was asked if parents could be fined in the same way they are if their children skip school.

The Foreign Office minister did not rule it out, telling Times Radio: “I’m not going to write the detailed policy now, that’s what a royal commission programme of works will be for.

“The premise has been clear, we would bring in a National Service Act, so that would be in the same way that Labour did when educational training to 18 was brought in.

“The change in the law means that there will be a clear framework set out and we’ll look forward to seeing that roll out should we be fortunate enough to win the election.”

James Cleverly, the home secretary, yesterday said there would be “no criminal sanctions” for 18-year-olds who refused. “Nobody’s going to jail over this,” he said.

Labour has ridiculed the national service policy as nothing more than a “headline-grabbing gimmick”.

Keir Starmer, the Labour leader, dismissed it as a “teenage Dad’s Army”.

And just three days before it was announced, a Tory defence minister had warned it would “damage morale” in the armed forces.


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