United Kingdom: Rishi Sunak promises to bring back compulsory military service for 18-year-olds if reelected

The current British prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party called elections for July 4.

Rishi Sunak began his electoral campaign by promising to bring back compulsory military service for 18-year-olds if he is reelected. The current British prime minister and leader of the Conservative Party called elections for July 4, and since then has intensified his campaign to try to stay in office for four more years.

For this reason, on Sunday, he assured that he would once again impose mandatory national service for 18-year-olds. As explained by the BBC, those who reach this age will be given two options: either apply for one of the 30,000 full-time military positions for a year or work as volunteers one weekend a month performing community services with the fire brigade, police or the NHS.

This measure, according to Sunak, will help promote the "national spirit" that emerged during the pandemic. Not only that, according to the British prime minister, this measure will also allow young people to "create a shared sense of purpose" :

This is a great country but generations of young people have not had the opportunities or experience they deserve and there are forces trying to divide our society in this increasingly uncertain world. I will bring in a new model of national service to create a shared sense of purpose among our young people and a renewed sense of pride in our country.

In addition, Sunak said that completing conscription, which the Conservatives will try to launch in September 2025 through a pilot program, will allow them to learn "real world skills, do new things and contribute to their community and our country." In this way, as reported by the BBC, some of the classes that young people will receive during their military training will cover cybersecurity, logistics, acquisitions and even civil response operations.

Labour Party against Sunak's proposal

The Labour Party criticized the first measure announced by Sunak. According to them, the plan will cost around 2.5 billion pounds ($3.2 billion). This cost, they say, is "unfunded" and, more importantly, a "desperate" attempt by Rishi Sunak to be reelected as prime minister.

The Conservative Party has not started off on the right foot in these elections. According to polls carried out on May 22, Labour are projected to be the clear winners. They would achieve 48% of the votes (equivalent to 480 seats) compared to the 27% that the Conservative Party would obtain, equivalent to 70 seats.