James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Tory MP explains how army will be used in Covid-19 response
22 September 2020, 17:27
The Chair of the Commons Liaison Committee explained how the military will help get the UK's fight against the pandemic back on track.
Bernard Jenkin MP told Shelagh Fogarty that "politicians do not understand what the military has to offer and how to engage the military.
"A lot of people feel threatened that they're going to mount some sort of takeover."
He argued that the decision for Government is simple: "The question is do you want to admit things aren't going so well and put it right or do you just want to carry on not doing things so well."
Shelagh pointed out that in the UK "we seem to have a mixed reaction when we hear the word military in these circumstances."
"It's a difficult balance to start saying 'we're going to start getting the military to enforce these rules against you.'"
Mr Jenkin insisted he "would not advise that at all," going further to explain that the military would be deployed for "logistics and planning and commanding and control, we're not talking about frontline operations...we don't have enough soldiers to do all the track and trace."
He added the military would work "in support of the civil authorities, it's not about taking over the role."
He stressed the importance of military help in the test and trace system: "If we can follow up the contact we've had with other people quickly then we can control the virus more effectively."