Minister 'sincerely hopes' troops' Christmas leave will not be cancelled due to strikes

Defence minister Dr Andrew Murrison has told Forces News he "sincerely hopes" Christmas leave will not be cancelled for members of the Armed Forces to cover strikes.

In response to a question asking whether some military personnel could be made to give up Christmas leave to backfill a wave of industrial action across the public sector, he said "I sincerely hope not" but warned: "It would be wrong of me to rule anything out, obviously."

Dr Murrison added: "But I hope that the strike action isn't as damaging as has been feared and that people won't be inconvenienced - and worse - as a result of that action."

He also denied there is any friction between senior officials in the Armed Forces and the Government over reports troops have been told to give up their Christmas to cover striking workers.

Hundreds of troops are on stand-by to cover for ambulance crews, firefighters and Border Force staff as ministers prepare for a wave of strikes across public services in the run-up to Christmas.

The Cabinet Office said about 2,000 military personnel, civil servants and other volunteers from across Government have been training as part of the Government’s contingency planning.

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