War hero Ben McBean says Brits would need to be dragged ‘kicking and screaming’ if conscripted to fight in Russia

24 January 2024, 19:33 | Updated: 25 January 2024, 00:06

'No wonder armed forces numbers are so low,' Ben McBean bemoaned
'No wonder armed forces numbers are so low,' Ben McBean bemoaned. Picture: Getty/Alamy
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

War hero Ben McBean, who lost an arm and a leg in Afghanistan, has said Brits would need to be dragged 'kicking and screaming' if called up to fight against Russia.

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General Sir Patrick Sanders warned the government in a speech on Wednesday of the need to "mobilise" the public if the UK goes to war.

While the British Army chief does not support conscription specifically, he does believe there needs to be a "shift" in the mindset of regular Brits.

Nonetheless, Sir Patrick's comments have sparked a debate about whether conscription should be considered in the event of war.

The prime minister Rishi Sunak has even waded into the conversation, insisting there are "no plans" to introduce conscription.

The idea has been labelled as "stupid" by McBean, who served in the Royal Marines.

He told The Sun: "It's not the same as back in the day, people aren't as patriotic.

"That mentality is gone and it is going to be hard to get it back. You would have to drag people in kicking and screaming to get them to conscript."

Royal Marine Ben McBean (2nd Right)
Royal Marine Ben McBean (2nd Right). Picture: Alamy

"No wonder armed forces numbers are low," he wrote on Twitter.

"If people ain’t joining out of free will how the heck is forcing people to join going to help?

"The idea is that people want to fight for crown and country and enjoy a few perk’s along the way. Imagine forcing people to join who don’t want to, you’d have recruits dripping about being shouted at."

Read More: PM's rebuke to Army chief who warned British conscripts may be needed for ‘citizen army’ to fight future war with Russia

Read More: British public will be called up to fight if UK goes to war because ‘military is too small’, Army chief warns

"Someone shoots the instructor, someone swallows a grenade or throws it at someone," he continued.

McBean added that the last people in the Army want to serve with are people who "don't want to be there".

Members of the British Army Royal Irish Battle Group
Members of the British Army Royal Irish Battle Group. Picture: Getty

"These fools and their ideas. No wonder nobody’s interested anymore."

Despite Sir Patrick's comments, there are no plans to bring forward conscription, even in the event of a war with Russia.

Mr Sunak's official spokesman insisted the service would remain voluntary moving forward.

“There is no suggestion of that," the spokesman said.

“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."

He added that "hypothetical scenarios" being presented over future conflicts were "not helpful".

Former defence select committee chairman Tobias Ellwood previously said that the government needed to "listen and listen carefully" to Sir Patrick.

"We've been too complacent," he said.

"What's coming over the horizon should shock us. It should worry us and we are not prepared."

He said that Sir Patrick was "one of the most cerebral thinkers that we've got".

Mr Ellwood added that he was concerned hostile countries like Russia could "exploit our timidity, perhaps our reluctance to really put out fires.

"So Patrick Sanders is saying prepare for what's coming over the horizon - there is a 1939 feel to the world right now," he told Sky News.

"These authoritarian states are rearming."

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