Fury after leaked email reveals RAF told staff to stop hiring 'useless white male pilots'

The service will pay compensation to 31 men whose training was delayed by a diversity drive (File picture)

The RAF told its staff to stop hiring “useless white male pilots," a leaked email has confirmed.

The service will pay compensation to 31 men whose training was delayed because of a drive to improvediversity and recruit more women and ethnic minority candidates.

In the email to staff sent in 2021 Squadron Leader Andrew Harwin wrote: “I noted that the boards have recently been predominantly white male heavy.

“If we don’t have enough BAME and female to board then we need to make the decision to pause boarding and seek more BAME and female from the RAF.

“I don’t really need to see loads of useless white male pilots, let’s get as focused as possible, I am more than happy to reduce boarding if needed to have a balanced BAME/female/male board.

Former Military Officer James Sunderland said the email did not indicate a systemic issue in the RAF.

Speaking to Speaking to TalkTV's Julia Hartley Brewer, he said: "This is one individual, one squadron leader. He's a middle manager who said something silly on an email that's been called out.

I don't think that's reflective of the RAF recruiting effort. It was a silly comment to make when pilots have conducted themselves with the most amazing bravery and skill for many decades in the RAF."

Julia said the email was more serious and dismissed the RAF's positive discrimination diversity drive.

"It's more than silly," she said. "If this country gets invaded I don't think the people could give two hoots whether the pilot is a man or a woman or has white or dark skin.

"It should be the best candidates. It's just as bad as someone saying, you're black or you're a woman, you can't be in the job."

In February, it was revealed that RAF Group Captain Lizzy Nicholl, who headed recruitment at RAF Cranwell, ordered priority places on training courses to be given to female and ethnic minority candidates.