Parents ‘could be fined if children refuse to do National Service’

Foreign Office minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: 'I'm not going to write the detailed policy now'
Foreign Office minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said: 'I'm not going to write the detailed policy now' - Geoff Pugh for The Telegraph

Parents could be fined if their children refuse to do National Service, a minister has suggested.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan did not rule out court prosecutions after Rishi Sunak pledged to bring back the scheme for 18-year-olds.

The Prime Minister’s “new version” of National Service would involve school leavers either enrolling on a 12-month military placement or spending one weekend each month volunteering in their community.

Asked on Times Radio whether parents would face prosecution if their 18-year-olds refuse to sign up, Ms Trevelyan, a Foreign Office minister, said: “I’m not going to write the detailed policy now. That’s what a royal commission programme of works will be for.

“The premise has been clear: we would bring in a National Service Act, so that would be in the same way that Labour did when educational training to 18 was brought in.

“The change in the law means that there will be a clear framework set out, and we’ll look forward to seeing that roll out should we be fortunate enough to win the election.”

Ms Trevelyan also implied that although there would be no criminal sanctions for those who did not take part in the scheme, it could dent their chances of future employment.

“Employers would be clear that they would look to see what you had done,” she told Sky News. “This would become part of the normal toolkit that young people would present as they go through their careers.”

While Labour has dismissed Mr Sunak’s proposals as a “ridiculous gimmick”, the Prime Minister claimed National Service would help to create a “renewed sense of pride in our country”.

The scheme would include very limited exemptions from participation, and young royals would be expected to take part.

Ministers would also consider the creation of fast-tracked routes for graduate schemes and the Civil Service for those who complete the year of National Service with the military.