A former British Army officer has claimed the defence secretary's recent announcement that all military roles will be opened up to women is a "smokescreen" for a recruitment issue.
Colonel Tim Collins OBE told Julia Hartley-Brewer he was "baffled" by the announcement, adding that there have "been females in the Special Forces for more than 30 years".
Gavin Williamson announced this week that women will be able to apply for all positions within the military, including frontline infantry roles.
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The defence secretary added that women will also be able to apply to the Royal Marines for the first time, with selection starting later this year.
However, Mr Collins claimed the announcement was a "smokescreen".
'It's a smokescreen'
"I think it's a smokescreen frankly, there's a bigger issue. The army can't recruit," he said.
"The people who've been given the task of recruiting the army have totally failed. Spectacularly failed. The army doesn't want to admit they've failed because they pretend that they're super businessmen."
He added: "What I see here is, opposed to addressing the actual problems, there's a smokescreen to pepper over the cracks with these wonderful announcements which mean absolutely nothing."