Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence

Examination of witness (Questions 100-101)




  100. Thank you. Everybody bar the policeman has been exposed to those questions in the last 12 months and I suspect the Secretary of State will have the same sorts of questions. One final question, to save me going through all the Committee reports since 1979. How many times have you appeared before the Defence Committee?
  (Admiral Sir Michael Boyce) This is my first time, Chairman.

  101. We will make sure that no prospective Chief of Defence Staff will ever be able to say that again. All I can say as a submariner trained in avoiding the enemy you have done exceptionally well. Finally, I think you should come and give us a little course in self-publicity because I have seen this recently "One in three troops lives in `slum barracks'.". "MoD chief hits out at inadequate recruits.". "Children need a clip round the ear says force chief.". "Chief of defence wants to see more women in battle", even supported by the editorial in The Daily Telegraph which makes me feel a little bit sceptical, and "Keep your clothes on Corporal" where The Sun attributed a number of statements to you. They say "The £150,000 a year military supremo made it clear that Roberta Winterton, 20, and Heidi Cochrane, 24—both following in the footsteps of saucy `Captain Crumpet' Angela Jackson—have no place in the force". Then you have the endorsement of The Sun "We like the cut of Admiral Sir Michael Boyce's jib . . . and not just because he chose The Sun to speak to first". All I can say is with the endorsement of The Daily Telegraph and The Sun you need to watch yourself before this Committee in the future. I am sure, absolutely certain, whoever chose you were admirable in their choice. We wish you a very long career and many appearances before the Defence Committee. I promise you that having failed to come before us in the last 20 years means you will have a lot of catching up to do, and we promise you we will give you ample opportunity to rectify that appalling deficiency in your curriculum vitae which had we noticed it before we invited you, would have caused us to give you a much more difficult time. Thank you very much and good luck in the future.
  (Admiral Sir Michael Boyce) Thank you.

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