In a speech yesterday, General Sir Patrick Sanders said the UK was woefully underequipped to fight an all-out war, and said the government may need to ‘mobilise the nation’ and start training a civilian army.
The General previously claimed Britain was facing a ‘1937 moment’- referring to the two years preceding the Second World War.
In his speech, Sir Patrick said Britain ‘must be able to credibly fight and win wars on land’, and could not rely on its navy and air power for success.
‘We need an Army designed to expand rapidly to enable the first echelon, resource the second echelon and train and equip the citizen army that must follow.
‘Within the next three years, it must be credible to talk of a British Army of 120,000, folding in our reserve and strategic reserve. But this is not enough.’
His words echo those of Defence Secretary Grant Shapps, who said in a speech last week that the world is ‘moving from a post-war to pre-war world’ and the UK must ensure its ‘entire defence ecosystem is ready’ to defend its homeland.
Although the government has since denied planning to conscript the public, they have not denied planning for war.
When asked whether the Prime Minister agreed with Gen Sir Patrick’s assessment that the public could drafted to wage war against Russia, Rishi Sunak’s official spokesman today said: ‘No.’
Pressed on whether the PM could rule out conscription in future circumstances, the spokesman replied: ‘There is no suggestion of that. The Government has no intention to follow through with that.
‘The British military has a proud tradition of being a voluntary force. There are no plans to change that.’