Tobias Ellwood: UK 'Absolutely Right' To Call On Forces During Fuel Shortage

Chair of the Defence Select Committee said military is the nation's "insurance" and alternative options would require greater investment.

The UK is justified in placing the Army on standby during the recent fuel shortages, Tobias Ellwood has said.

After a request for 150 tanker drivers and 150 drivers' mates was signed off on Tuesday, the Chair of the Defence Select Committee said instances such as these are simply a "sign of the times" in an "ever-dangerous world".

A Forces News poll of 5,281 people online showed a narrow majority, 50.6%, thought the British Military was used too often in civil tasks.

But assistance during COVID-19 and flooding, alongside the recent fuel shortages, simply point toward tests "not really seen since the Second World War", Mr Ellwood suggests.

"It's absolutely right, I think, in this situation that they should be called in," he said – adding that his stance would differ if Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) requests became the "norm".

"If you don't want to call on them, you have to invest further money, let's say, into flood defences and so forth."

Mr Ellwood said reliance on the military does not detract from the readiness of personnel for international tasks, but said the UK is testing the limits of what it asks of the current number of troops.