CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DEFENCE – RECRUITMENT STANDARDS – 18 May 1998

Dr Julian Lewis: Before the Secretary of State gets too carried away with the overblown hoo-hah of his own rhetoric, will he reflect on the fact that the person who criticised the falling standards for recruitment to the Parachute Regiment was the head of the regiment's recruiting team? As newspaper articles have been quoted, let us see how the Secretary of State responds to what that man said. He said:

"nearly half the soldiers now accepted into the Parachute Regiment, which prides itself on fitness, would have been failed five years ago.

"The Army, facing a shortage of 5,000 recruits, was letting people slip through the net 'just to make up the numbers'".

Is the Secretary of State proud of a development that drives the head of a recruiting team to resign from the Army to spread that message?