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Home > Parents Could Be Fined If Children Refuse To Do National Service, Minister Suggests

Parents Could Be Fined If Children Refuse To Do National Service, Minister Suggests

27 May 2024 • 8:26am


Veterans minister praises ‘clear, definitive and bold’ National Service plan The veterans minister has praised Rishi Sunak’s “clear, definitive and bold” National Service proposals.

Johnny Mercer told the Sun that joining the Army “was the best thing I ever did”, saying: “The best thing you can ever do is join up and serve.”

He added: “I thought when I was fighting in Afghanistan, I came back to a country that had no idea or interest in what you were doing. I think that idea of bringing in a sense of service is incredibly important to society.

“Ordinary, hard-working people [are] quite excited the Government is committed to creating opportunities for young people and driving up their sense of service, values and commitment.”


Tim Stanley: David Cameron is this election’s biggest loser In one sense, the election is over before it’s begun. The resignation of countless Tory MPs marks a seismic generational change. Not only will the next government be unrecognisable, the opposition will be, too.

The list of those we’ve lost in a brave but doomed campaign reads like a Belgian war memorial: Andrea Leadsom, Brandon Lewis, Theresa May, Paul Scully and, most regrettably, Michael Gove.

Lord Cameron on a visit to Albania last week, shortly before Rishi Sunak called the snap election Credit: Ben Dance/FCDO A couple of Thatcherites have thrown in the towel, too – their late presence in the Tory swamp a throwback that proves there once were dinosaurs. The clever John Redwood; the lovely Bill Cash. Every time we meet, Sir Bill forgets we’ve met before, which means I get the pleasure of meeting him all over again – for he is a true gentleman.

As for the rest, well, “they were the future once”. I paraphrase David Cameron, as it is largely his cohort that’s called time. Dave is the biggest loser thus far. Rishi only brought him back into government seven months ago; he’s barely mastered the wine list in the Foreign Office restaurant.

Tim Stanley: How authenticity is banishing bland centrism


‘Look, Jeremy’s in the past now’ Jeremy Corbyn is “in the past now”, Labour’s shadow education secretary said.

Mr Corbyn last week announced that he is standing against the party he once led as an independent candidate, presenting a major headache for Sir Keir Starmer.

His decision to run in Islington North risks exacerbating splits between the Labour leadership and the Left wing of the party.

But asked about Mr Corbyn’s candidacy, Bridget Phillipson told Sky News: “Look, Jeremy’s in the past now. He’s not a Labour member, he’s not a Labour candidate. We’ve got a brilliant candidate standing in Islington North who’ll be fighting hard for every vote.

“But our focus right across the country is earning the trust for the British people, securing a Labour government and making the case for the kind of change that we could deliver if we win the next election, such as more teachers, more investment in our NHS, more police on our streets, tackling anti-social behaviour. It really is time for change.”


Labour brands National Service ‘a ridiculous gimmick’ Bridget Phillipson, the shadow education secretary, called the Conservatives’ National Service proposals a “ridiculous gimmick”.

Ms Phillipson noted the Army was at its smallest size in hundreds of years, telling Sky News: “This is not the answer in terms of filling the gaps in our Armed Forces.

“It is incredibly important that we keep our country safe, but with every hour there seems to be a fresh unravelling of this ridiculous gimmick that the Conservatives have set out.”

Challenged on Labour’s own plan, she said there would be a “rapid review of all of the risks our country faces” in the first 100 days, adding that her party did not have the same “access” to information about threats facing Britain at present.

“Our aim is to get towards 2.5 per cent in terms of defence spending, because we’ve seen a hollowing out in the last 14 years.”


Bridget Phillipson: Private schools can ‘learn a lot’ from state schools’ tight budgets Bridget Phillipson was asked by Sky News whether local state school systems had the capacity to take on pupils leaving private schools, and it was put to her that one city could see 1,000 schoolchildren leave the independent sector.

“I don’t accept we will see that kind of change. That wasn’t the conclusion that the Institute for Fiscal Studies reached.

“But secondly in our state schools we’re actually facing a situation at the moment where we’ve got falling rolls, so we’ve got fewer young people coming through our schools. So we’re actually going to be in the position in the years to come about state schools facing those kind of pressures about whether they’ve got enough students within their classrooms. So I don’t accept that.

“But I do think it’s also just a straightforward case of political priorities. Do we choose to give tax breaks to private schools, or do we invest directly into our state schools which have faced really big challenges in recent years?

“And in fact I would probably just gently say to private schools, there’s probably a lot that they could learn from state schools about how they’ve had to manage a really tight budget in recent years, whereas private schools have whacked up their fees way beyond inflation, putting themselves way out of the reach of middle-class parents who might have in the past considered sending their children to private school.”


Bridget Phillipson: Private school closing because of ‘longstanding issue’ Bridget Phillipson, the shadow education secretary, insisted that the closure of Alton School, a private school in Hampshire, was the result of a “longstanding issue” rather than Labour’s planned VAT raid on the independent sector.

She told Sky News: “Just to be clear in terms of this specific example, the school themselves noted that they’d had falling rolls over many years and they’d not been able to turn that round. So I’m sorry that that’s been the case but this has been a longstanding issue that the individual school has been facing.

“Beyond that, if you look at the work the Institute for Fiscal Studies did, the well-respected independent organisation, they concluded that Labour’s policy would raise £1.3bn to £1.5bn net, and we would invest that directly into state schools.

“We would make sure we’ve got 6,500 more teachers. We know at the moment there’s real pressure and too many children are being taught by non-specialists because of a failure to recruit and retain brilliant teachers… My priority if I were education secretary in a Labour government would be to deliver improved investment directly into our state schools, because that is where the vast majority of our children go to school.”

She also confirmed there would be no rises in income tax or National Insurance if it wins the general election

“We think it’s incredibly important that we give stability to the economy and that’s why our focus will also be on growing the economy so that we have more to invest in our public services too.”


Parents could be fined if children refuse to do National Service, minister suggests Parents could be fined if their children refuse to do National Service, a minister has suggested.

Rishi Sunak made the first major policy announcement of the general election campaign on Sunday, as he pledged to bring back the scheme for 18-year-olds.

He said this would entail either a year on a military placement or spending one weekend of each month volunteering.

Asked on Times Radio whether parents would face prosecution if their 18-year-olds refuse to sign up, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, a Foreign Office minister, said: “I’m not going to write the detailed policy now. That’s what a royal commission programme of works will be for.”

In an interview with Sky News, Ms Trevelyan also implied that while there would be no criminal sanction for those who did not take part in the scheme, it could dent their chances of employment in the future.

“Employers would be clear that they would look to see what you had done. This would become part of the normal toolkit that young people would present as they go through their careers. And I think that’s exciting, so many young people would have the opportunity to do more.”


Good morning Dominic Penna here, The Telegraph’s Political Correspondent.

Along with my colleague Albert Tait, I will be guiding you through day five of the general election campaign.