Cabinet minister Tom Tugendhat today insisted that ‘ideology’ would not be put before ‘security’ amid a row over ‘woke and extremist’ culture in the military.
The country’s Armed Forces ‘have one purpose and one purpose alone… to defend the British people and bring death to the King’s enemies’, Mr Tugendhat declared.
The security minister’s comments follow claims that the Army wants to relax security checks for overseas recruits to boost ethnic minority representation.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has ordered a review of diversity and inclusion policy at the Ministry of Defence.
Mr Shapps has also warned about a ‘woke’ and ‘extremist’ culture that has ‘seeped into public life’ and the military.
Cabinet minister Tom Tugendhat today insisted that ‘ideology’ would not be put before ‘security’ amid a row over ‘woke and extremist’ culture in the military
Appearing on GB News today, Mr Tugendhat – who served in the British Army in Afghanistan and Iraq – also intervened and stressed the Government have ‘absolutely no time for this’.
‘Let’s be absolutely clear. We’re seeing huge instability around the world,’ he said.
‘We’ve just spoken about how the Middle East and Royal Naval ships are engaged in actions against the Houthis in the Red Sea.
‘And we know that the vicious war that Vladimir Putin is waging in Ukraine could escalate and is absolutely horrific, costing many, many lives even now.
‘This is a time when only our enemies want us to be divided and we have absolutely no time for this – sort of putting ideology before security.
‘It is absolutely clear, and let me be totally clear, there is no way we are going to be easing up security requirements for ideological requests. There’s simply not going to happen.
‘You know, the British Armed Forces have one purpose and one purpose alone, and that’s to defend the British people and bring death to the King’s enemies.
‘There’s no way we’re going to be putting ideology before security.’
The Sunday Telegraph reported it had seen a British Army document vowing to ‘challenge’ security checks to increase diversity.
Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has ordered a review of diversity and inclusion policy at the Ministry of Defence
The 2023 British Army’s Race Action Plan, outlining measures to boost representation, describes security clearance vetting as being ‘the primary barrier to non-UK personnel gaining a commission in the Army’ and vows to ‘challenge SC (security clearance) requirements,’ according to the newspaper.
It was also claimed the Armed Forces are looking overseas to attract ethnic minority talent because they have long failed to hit recruitment targets.
Following the report, Mr Shapps has orded a review of diversity and inclusivity policy at the Ministry of Defence and vowed there will ‘certainly not be any lowering of security clearance requirements on my watch’.
He also said that a ‘woke culture has seeped into public life and it is poisoning common sense discourse’, writing in The Express: ‘I am in a position to challenge this philosophy and I will.’
The Defence Secretary added: ‘This extremist culture has crept in over years and it is time for a proper shake up, designed to refocus the military on its core mission – being a lethal fighting force.
‘I am therefore commissioning a root-and-branch, fast track review of ethnicity, diversity and inclusivity policies in defence. It is time for common sense instead of divisiveness.’
Downing Street today said it was ‘not true’ that military security checks were being reduced.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman told reporters: ‘My understanding is that the story you’re referring to around reducing security checks is not true.
‘The Defence Secretary addressed this in his op-ed in the Express.
‘He said “I can confirm that it is inconceivable I would allow a lowering of standards on security clearance”.’
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