General election – latest: Sunak vows to bring back national service as Streeting aims to turn around the NHS

Rishi Sunak has vowed to bring back national service for 18-year-olds to create a “renewed sense of pride in our country” if he wins the general election.

Under the mandatory scheme, teenagers would be given a choice between a full-time placement in the armed forces for 12 months or spending one weekend a month for a year volunteering in their community.

Labour branded the announcement “another desperate unfunded commitment”, which would cost an estimated £2.5bn each year.

It comes as Wes Streeting warned striking doctors he would not meet their huge pay demands, and has vowed he would be “a shop steward for patients” as health secretary.

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, the shadow health secretary spoke of his plan to tackle of record waiting lists and the ongoing pay disputes, stating: “The NHS is not the envy of the world.”

Sir Keir Starmer also confirmed on Saturday that he wanted to lower the voting age to 16, and sought to question why voters should have trust in Mr Sunak’s general election proposals if Michael Gove appears to have “lost faith” in the PM by joining the record exodus of Tory MPs.

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