The Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has ordered a review into the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) diversity and inclusion policy.
This comes as the British Army have said they want to lower the security clearance on checks for overseas recruits to boost numbers as soldiers are leaving the job faster than they can recruit.
The Sunday Telegraph reported they saw a British Army document that said they will “challenge” security clearance checks to increase diversity in an attempt to boost the numbers of military personnel.
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The Defence Secretary said that there will be no “lowering of security clearance requirements on my watch” after the newspaper said that the British Army want to recruit more ethnic minorities as they are failing to recruit people.
It was reported that Shapps is “genuinely furious about this woke nonsense” and does not believe in the British Army’s planning over their recruitment crisis.
The 2023 British Army’s Race Action Plan describes the security clearace vetting as the primary barrier to non-UK personnel gaining a commission in the Army.”
Shapps is vowing to “challenge SC (security clearance) requirements,” according to the Sunday Telegraph.
Shapps said: “I am ordering a review of diversity and inclusivity policy at the MoD.
“We want people from all backgrounds to serve in our military but some policies appear to be more about a political agenda than practically improving the lives of our dedicated soldiers and military personnel.
“There will certainly not be any lowering of security clearance requirements on my watch.
“And no-one should be offended by having religion as part of remembrance services. You don’t have to be Christian to appreciate and respect the history and traditions of the United Kingdom.”
A source close to the Defence Secretary said: “He’s determined it is rooted out on his watch. He’s ready to go to battle on it…
“There are personnel issues that need addressing in the armed services but some of these policies are about a woke agenda.”
The Housing Secretary told Sky’s Sunday Morning with Trevor Phillips, “Grant Shapps, the Defence Secretary, has been looking at the specific policies we have in the Ministry of Defence in order to ensure that we strike the right balance, that we provide protection for individuals in our armed forces, that we make sure that we draw all the talent available in this country to ensure that we have a strong and diverse military, but also to make sure that these policies operate in such a way as to ensure that political correctness, or some of the more – what’s the word? – ‘out there’ approaches that people take towards diversity, equity and inclusion don’t impair our ability to defend our borders and to make sure that this country is secure.”
Michale Gove added, “You wouldn’t expect me to go into details of security policy,” the senior Conservative said.
“When you’re thinking about who should be in our military, and who should be responsible for the life-and-death actions that determine whether or not all of us can sleep safely at night, then you’ve got to make decisions about personnel and their deployment that are sharper and more acute than in other workplaces.
“Some of the policies that might apply appropriately in other workplaces would not be appropriate in the military.
“We know that there need to be levels of fitness. We know that there need to be appropriate selection criteria in making sure that we have the people whom we want defending our way of life.”
Labour’s shadow defence secretary John Healey said: “National security must always be the first priority for any government and our armed forces must never relax security checks for recruits.
“But from missing their own hiring targets every year to overseeing the terrible state of military housing, the forces’ recruitment crisis has been caused by 14 years of Conservative failure.
“Labour will always put our national security first.”
An MoD spokesman said: “Our priority is protecting the national security of the United Kingdom and ensuring the operational effectiveness of our armed forces.
“We take security extremely seriously and ensure that all personnel have the appropriate security clearance, which is reviewed on a case-by-case basis.”