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29th May 2024

James Blunt says Rishi Sunak’s national service plans ‘not a bad idea’

Ryan Price

The Prime Minister announced his plans to bring back conscription at the weekend.

James Blunt has voiced his support for Rishi Sunak’s national service plans, claiming “it’s not a bad idea”.

The You’re Beautiful singer was in conversation with writer Matt Everitt at Hay Festival in Hay-On-Wye on Monday when he was asked about the proposed policy.

“We all know it’s not going to happen, but I think the concept — to understand a bit about serving your community — is not a bad idea,” Blunt said.

Blunt was an officer in the Army for six years before signing a record deal, and served during the Kosovo war.

While serving in Kosovo he had his guitar strapped to the tank and would sometimes bring it out and sing for the troops.

He also stood guard at the coffin of the Queen Mother Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon during her lying in state and was part of the associated funeral procession on 9 April 2002.

“The greatest thing about the Army is that we worked together as a team, people from all corners of the UK, and that was a huge benefit,” he said.

“I’m a posh twat and these people were salt of the earth. A guy from Newcastle who would otherwise be nicking cars is in the Army, and I know he’s going to be able to hot-wire my tank to get out of a situation. Likewise, he knows that when we come across the enemy, I’m going to be able to chat my way out of the situation.”

Last weekend, the Prime Minister unveiled a new scheme that would see 18-year-olds given the choice of a full-time military placement for 12 months or a scheme to volunteer for one weekend a month for a year.

Rishi Sunak outlined the plan as one of his promises should the Conservatives win the upcoming general election on July 4th.

National Service first came into force in the UK in January 1949.

It required all physically fit males aged between 17 and 21 to serve in one of the armed forces for an 18-month period, with the period lengthened in 1950 to two years. It came to an end in 1960.

This is Sunak’s first new policy announcement of his electoral campaign.

The Conservatives estimate the programme would cost £2.5bn a year by 2029/30 funded with cash previously used for the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and by cracking down on tax avoidance and evasion.

The mandatory placement would be selective and involve working with the armed forces or in cyber defence.

Tests would be carried out to determine people’s physical and mental eligibility, and the alternative volunteering option would see young people spending 25 days with organisations such as the police, the fire service, the NHS, or charities that work with older isolated people.

Related Links:

Rishi Sunak pledges to bring back national service for 18-year-olds

Rishi Sunak’s national service plans ‘would see George, Louis and Charlotte called up’

Jeremy Clarkson says teenagers should work on farms instead of national service

France is bringing back national service