The British army has released an unprecedented video following allegations of sexual assault and soldiers using a picture of Jeremy Corbyn for target practice.
Chief of the General Staff, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, appears in a virtual background in the short clip which has been placed on the army’s YouTube channel.
He says it is not appropriate to comment about specific allegations but goes on to tell viewers: “Where serious allegations are proven against members of the army… it demonstrates indiscipline that is wildly at odds with the values and standards that represent the fabric of not just our army, but the nation’s army.
“Not only is it downright unacceptable, it’s illegal and it stands in stark contrast with everything the British army represents.”
Six British army troops have been arrested over an alleged attack on a teenage female soldier.
Earlier this week, footage of soldiers shooting at a photograph of Jeremy Corbyn during target practice was shared on Snapchat.
General Carleton-Smith added: “The British soldier is known for many things; stoicism, a sense of honour and duty, courage, a sense of humour and an honest sense of decency… It’s not less than the country expects…
“Any behaviour that falls short of that high standard, we cannot and will not tolerate. This is everyone’s business; this is about who we are as professional soldiers.
“This hasn’t been a good week for the army; it’s damaged our reputation which is exceptionally hard earned and includes the sacrifice of our friends on the battlefield.”
The Sun reported that six Army sports club members had been held over a serious sex attack on a sleeping 17-year-old female soldier.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said he was “horrified” by the claims and has launched a review of behaviour across the military.
He said: “There is no place for these kind of actions in the military and, if true, those involved must be dealt with.”
Sky News foreign affairs editor Deborah Haynes described it as an “unprecedented intervention by @ArmyCGS”.
On Wednesday, Mr Corbyn said he was “shocked” by footage of soldiers in Afghanistan using a picture of him while practising close-protection techniques.
The soldiers were using paint “simunition” rounds, not bullets, but multiple holes could be seen in the picture of Mr Corbyn’s head. The video carried the caption “happy with that”.
The soldiers, from the 3rd battalion, Parachute Regiment, were spoken to and were due to leave Afghanistan shortly because their tour is coming to an end.