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Boris Johnson pledges to fight with British Army in war with Russia

Boris Johnson meets NATO troops in Tallinn (PA)
Boris Johnson meets NATO troops in Tallinn (PA)

Boris Johnson has pledged to fight alongside the British Army if the country ever goes to war with Russia.

The former prime minister used his Daily Mail column on Saturday to back General Sir Patrick Sanders, the outgoing Chief of the General Staff, who said earlier this week that Britain should "train and equip" a "citizen army" to ready the country for a potential land war.

General Sir Patrick said even that would be "not enough" as he pointed to allies in eastern and northern Europe "laying the foundations for national mobilisation".

Mr Johnson has previously come under fire for his commitment to the army, failing in 2021 to  guarantee troop numbers will be spared cuts.

Boris Johnson gets stuck in with a tug of war alongside troops in London (PA)
Boris Johnson gets stuck in with a tug of war alongside troops in London (PA)

However, the former Tory is enthusiastic about his own potential energy, if not ability, as a soldier.

He said: “No sooner had I posed myself the question — would I sign up to fight for King and country? — than (sic) I had the answer. Of course I jolly well would.”

Mr Johnson went on to detail his CV which includes Combined Cadet Force training which he “put himself through” from the ages of 16 to 18. However, his past experiences suggest he might not be top of the list for potential recruits.

“I was not, at first, a promising recruit,” he said. “I failed something called the Empire Test, which involved safely cleaning, loading and firing a Lee-Enfield .303.

“I caused my platoon to spend a very wet and cold night in the open on Salisbury Plain, guarding what turned out to be the wrong pylon.

“My performance on the drill ground was chaotic. My shirt wouldn’t stay tucked. My spats came off, and I more than once incurred the terrifying abuse of the regimental sergeant major, a man whose verbal brutality probably concealed a heart of gold.”

Johnson is shown around the Royal Tank Regiment Battlegroup by Lt Colonel Simon Worth (PA)
Johnson is shown around the Royal Tank Regiment Battlegroup by Lt Colonel Simon Worth (PA)

Tucking in his own shirt has famously never been Johnson’s strong point but the former PM said he became a willing keen participant. He added that he does not imagine that the UK will have a direct military confrontation in the near future.

He continued: “I have to confess, in all modesty, that I might not be the fittest or most agile of his recruits. In fact, I hope and believe that my services will not be called upon.”

He added that “nobody regrets” joining up.

“I also know that if we think that war is impossible, or that the current run of relative tranquillity will never end, then I am afraid we are deluded. History teaches us that the best way to preserve peace is to be vigilant.

“The best way to deter the aggression of men such as Vladimir Putin is to be strong.”