We remain committed to maintaining the overall size of the armed forces and recognise the importance of recruitment to achieve that. We are responding to immediate challenges with a programme aimed at increasing the breath of potential candidates and driving efficiencies in recruitment. Meanwhile, the services continue to meet all their operational commitments, keeping the country and its interests safe.
Since my election, I have met many new recruits during visits with the armed forces parliamentary scheme, and I have always been incredibly impressed by their sense of duty, their commitment to serve their country and their recognition of the great careers that lie before them, but we know that there are still shortages in recruitment. How can my right hon. Friend ensure that all parts of the armed forces recruit the right number of people, with the right mix of skills and experience to keep our nation safe in these increasingly dangerous times?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right that recruitment to the armed forces is mixed—some of it is good, some of it less good—across the western world. We are struggling to recruit people into our armed forces, and we must redouble our efforts. That is why we have had the Haythornthwaite review and the tri-service recruitment model, which I am convinced will plug the gaps that we have in skills and overall numbers.