Former British Army Officer, Lt Col Stuart Crawford, says the army face a ‘dangerous road’ if it begins choosing applicants based on diversity rather than skill.
The comments come after Defence Secretary Grant Shapps previously claimed “woke extremists” are rife in the British Army and claimed it needs a “proper shake-up” so it can focus on “being a lethal fighting force”.
Speaking to GB News Lt Col Crawford said: “I think that diversity rather than weakening the armed forces actually enhances them, because those from different ethnic backgrounds bring different experiences and different expertise, and that is very much a good thing.
“What I think we’ve got to be careful of is not going into the place where we actually allocate quotas to people from different ethnic backgrounds.
“Well, first of all, it’s illegal. And secondly, it’s not recruiting on merit. And I think merit has always got to be the final arbiter.”
When asked if the armed forces were potentially putting diversity ahead of competence instead of considering the best fit for the job, Crawford added: “No, you’re absolutely right. I mean they can all be Martians, as long as they’re the best people for the job, but I think there is a great pressure on the armed services to widen its diversity, if I can use that phrase.
“The RAF recruiting fell foul of that when it was discovered that they were holding back white applicant pilots in favour of ethnic minority and female pilots, rather than selecting just on pure ability, and that’s a dangerous road to go down.”