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Unemployed people who consistently turn down work should be conscripted, says Tory MP Richard Drax

 (PA Archive)
(PA Archive)

A senior Tory MP has said jobseekers who repeatedly turn down offers of employment should be conscripted to the Armed Forces.

Richard Drax, a former Army captain, said in an interview with The House magazine there’s a growing issue of younger people not being “prepared to contribute to our country”.

The Conservative MP for South Dorset suggested people who have turned down a certain number of offers of employment should be made to serve for two years in the Armed Forces.

“In some cases, particularly among some of the young, they have got to a point where, for whatever reason, they’re not prepared to contribute to our country and to serve their country,” he said in the interview, reported by The Telegraph.

“If they can’t be encouraged to do that, then maybe we’ve got to a point where they should be told to do so.

“And if they’ve refused three offers of a job, or whatever the number would be, and they say ‘I’m sorry, I’m not doing any of that’, you then say – in which case you must go and do two years in the Armed Forces.”Mr Drax also suggests criminals could be given reduced sentences in exchange for carrying out military service.

“Let’s say [a young person] has 10 pints of beer, slugs somebody and is locked up for it,” he said in the interview.

“If you get that sort of behaviour, you could, as a magistrate, say to these young men and women ‘you’ve got an option - if you’re a good boy or girl, you’ll come out, but you must do a year in the Armed Forces’.”

His comments come amid fears over the Army’s shrinking size, with General Sir Patrick Sanders, the Army’s outgoing Chief of the General Staff (CGS), in January suggesting Britain should "train and equip" a "citizen army" to ready the country for a potential land war.

It is not the first time Mr Drax has said he would like to see the return of national service.

National service gradually ended in the late 1950s, following the introduction of conscription during the Second World War.

But the MP in November insisted that reintroducing the conscription programme could help people “who need a hand up”.

“We already spend billions of pounds on encouraging reliance on the state,” he said. “Let’s spend that instead on instilling in people that life is about contributing, about service, and taking responsibility for one’s self.”