‘No one pretends allowing women onto the front line enhances the army’s capabilities,’ says Tim Collins.

Lifting the ban on women in combat roles will “drag our infantry to far below the required standard” and put people at greater risk of dying, according to a former SAS commander.

“The infantry is no place for a woman, and to permit them to serve in close combat roles is a pure politically correct extravagance,” Colonel Tim Collins has said, following David Cameron’s announcement on Friday that women will be allowed to perform combat roles in the army.

He added: “No one pretends that allowing women onto the front line enhances the army’s capabilities.”

Citing a report by the US Marine Corps from 2015, he added that having women in the armed forces would be more likely “cost lives on the battlefield”.

But Hannah Bryce, from the Royal Institute of International Affairs, has said having women in the roles would make the army “more operationally effective”, as well as more reflective of society.

“Wars are not just fought by men, and do not just affect men,” she told the BBC, “the battleground has already moved from the remote frontlines of 20th Century warfare to a more urban environment and as a result is influenced by all society and not just military personnel.

Read More: The Independent