Page last updated at 14:36 GMT, Saturday, 26 April 2008 15:36 UK

Student military recruitment row

A motion banning military recruitment at the university is to be voted on

Recruitment staff for the Armed Forces could be banned from enroling university students in Manchester.

A motion is to be voted on next week banning the Army, Navy and RAF from setting up stalls at the University of Manchester's student union building.

If passed, they would not be allowed to set up stalls for three years.

Supporters say it is "unacceptable" for the military to recruit young people to fight in "massively unpopular" wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Undergraduates at University College London have also adopted a similar ban.

'Utter disgrace"

The Ministry of Defence said it was "disappointed" by the plans in Manchester, while Macclesfield MP Sir Nicholas Winterton, who completed National Service, labelled them "an utter disgrace".

He added: "I am appalled. Historically it is because of our armed forces that these students have the opportunity to go to university."

Martin Watkins, chairman of the Royal British Legion's Manchester branch, added: "The average age of people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan while fighting for the freedoms they take for granted is 22."

The proposal has been put forward by Andy Cunningham, of the students' union.

Outrage sparked

He said: "There is a large officer training corps on campus. If this is successful we want the university to sever their links as well."

The vote has sparked outrage among members of the Manchester and Salford Universities' Officer Training Corps - a branch of the Territorial Army aimed at higher education students. They want members to vote against the proposal.

Ministry of Defence spokesman Greg Stringer said: "However people view military operations, everyone should be able to respect the brave job our armed forces perform."

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