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RAF diversity drive ‘discriminated against 160 white men’

The Royal Air Force is accused of discriminating against 160 white men in an effort to achieve “desired diversity goals”.

Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the Defense Select Committee, told MPs that the former head of RAF recruitment identified the cases before she resigned in protest.

Following the exposure of Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, the head of the armed forces, was asked if he was leading the “lack of integrity at the top of the RAF”.

It comes at a time when the Armed Forces are struggling to retain female staff amid a sexual harassment crisis that has gripped the military.

On Wednesday, defense sources suggested to The Telegraph that Sir Mike, author of Wigston’s 2019 review of military misconduct, should consider his position.

“Unattainable Goal”

Mr. Ellwood told MPs that group captain Elizabeth Nicholl, who retired last August, has been put in charge of recruiting more women and ethnic minorities.

While working on the diversity scheme, which began in November 2020 and ran until March 2021, Mr Ellwood said Group Captain Nicholl determined that “there were about 160 cases of affirmative action.”

“In the end, she had to resign, not wanting to pursue this policy,” he added.

For the first time, the scale of the alleged problems caused by the personnel policy of the RAF has been revealed.

Mr Ellwood spoke with exasperation when he told MPs that prioritizing ethnic minorities and female pilots over more qualified white pilots in order to improve the force’s diversity profile could “majorly affect RAF operational performance.”

Testifying to MPs on the issue for the first time, Sir Mike said that while he “has made no apologies for setting the Royal Air Force a difficult and promising diversity goal”, he acknowledged that the goals “exceed ambitious levels of ambition”. .

He said that once the “stretch target” “reached individual recruiting officers”, it became “an unattainable target that put them under unbearable stress.”

However, he denied that there was any discrimination and insisted that the standards were not lowered by the desire for diversity.

“I can absolutely assure this committee that there was no compromise on entry standards, no impact on recruit standards from any background, front line or in terms of operational efficiency,” he said.

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