UK 'to lift ban on women serving in ground combat roles'


Britain looks set to lift the ban on women serving in ground combat roles in the UK military, according to reports.

Prime Minister David Cameron is reported to be preparing to make the announcement during the Nato summit which opened in Polish capital Warsaw on Thursday.

The Government has carried out a consultation on lifting the ban, and Downing Street said an announcement would be made "in due course".

But both The Daily Telegraph and Sky News quoted "sources" as saying the move could come as early as today.

The Ministry of Defence has conducted reviews of whether women are physically strong enough to serve with the infantry on the front line and whether their presence would undermine the cohesion and morale of fighting units.

Women are currently banned from ground close combat roles. Under the Equality Act 2010, the armed forces are permitted to discriminate against women provided it can be shown to be a proportionate means of ensuring combat effectiveness.

Speaking in December last year, Mr Cameron said: "The Defence Secretary (Michael Fallon) and I are united in wanting to see all roles in our armed forces opened up to women in 2016. 

"We've already lifted a number of barriers in our armed forces with the introduction of female submariners and women reaching the highest ranks in all services. We should finish the job next year and open up ground combat roles to women."