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Several defense sources told Sky News that Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, the head of the RAF, seems willing to compromise U.K. security at a dangerous time in the name of diversity.
“You look at the head of the RAF and he’s prepared to break the operational requirement of the air force just to meet diversity [targets],” one source said.
“I think he needs to be hauled up by the Ministry of Defence and told: This is the defence agenda, get on it,” the source added.
The head of recruitment for the RAF, who is a female officer, has even resigned from her post to protest the alleged change, Sky News reported.
The senior officer handed in her notice of resignation in recent days as reports leaked about the racially-restrictive hiring, fearing the change would undermine the strength of the RAF, sources told the outlet.
Rishi Sunak, a hopeful to be the next prime minister, slammed the RAF for the alleged change.
“The only thing that should matter in recruitment is the content of your character, not your sex or the color of your skin,” Sunak said via a spokesperson, according to Fox News. “That the Ministry of Defence would allow Britain’s security to potentially be put at risk by a drive for so-called ‘diversity’ is not only disgraceful, it is dangerous.”
The RAF has denied the pause but emphasized its commitment to “a diverse workforce.”
“There is no pause in Royal Air Force recruitment and no new policy with regards to meeting in-year recruitment requirements,” a spokesperson for the RAF said.
“Royal Air Force commanders will not shy away from the challenges we face building a service that attracts and recruits talent from every part of the UK workforce,” the statement continued. “As with the Royal Navy and British Army, we are doing everything we can to encourage recruiting from under-represented groups and ensure we have a diverse workforce.”
“The Royal Air Force has a well-earned reputation for operational excellence that is founded on the quality of all our people,” the RAF added. “We will always seek to recruit the best talent available to us.”