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No place for women in the front line, says Tim Collins

By Harriet Agerholm

Published 11/07/2016

Warning: Tim Collins
Warning: Tim Collins

Lifting the ban on women in combat roles will "drag our infantry to far below the required standard" and put people at greater risk of dying, according to a Northern Ireland war hero.

"The infantry is no place for a woman, and to permit them to serve in close combat roles is a pure politically correct extravagance," Tim Collins has said, following David Cameron's announcement on Friday that women will be allowed to perform combat roles in the army.

The Belfast-born former soldier added: "No one pretends that allowing women onto the front line enhances the Army's capabilities."

Citing a report by the US Marine Corps from 2015, he added that having women in the armed forces would be more likely "cost lives on the battlefield".

But Hannah Bryce, from the Royal Institute of International Affairs, has said having women in the roles would make the Army "more operationally effective", as well as more reflective of society.

"Wars are not just fought by men, and do not just affect men," she told the BBC. "The battleground has already moved from the remote front lines of 20th century warfare to a more urban environment and as a result is influenced by all society and not just military personnel.

"The armed forces need women in all military roles if they are to understand and influence events on the battlefield and beyond."

She continued: "This is not just about fairness, but about winning."

Women are currently able to fill 80% of jobs in the armed forces and make up more than 10% of the workforce.

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