Call for military personnel whistleblowing rights
SNP Westminster leader and Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP has
called for military personnel to be afforded the same whistleblowing rights as other workers after it emerged that the Ministry of Defence had issued orders banning service personnel from having contact with MPs and MSPs without first securing permission from a special unit of civil servants.
Official guidance – attached - released under freedom of information by the MoD states: “Unless authorised by Ministers in advance, meetings, either formal or informal between Parliamentarians and members of the Armed Forces or MOD civilians to discuss Defence business are not permitted. Approval can be sought from Ministers by contacting the Private Office of the Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans.”Mr Robertson – who represents defence personnel based at RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks – said:
“As an MP representing two major military bases, I am appalled by this diktat which raises the obvious question of what the MoD has to hide.
“It is totally unacceptable for anyone to dictate what an individual can tell their MP – particularly given our dual duty to represent constituents and hold the government, including the Ministry of Defence, to account.
“Without whistleblowers we would never have know that frontline troops had been left without basic kit, that shortcuts were being taken on the maintenance of aircraft, uncovered the scandal over under-armed Snatch Land Rovers or the many MoD procurement bungles.
“And at a time when the MoD is making further deep cuts to our defence capabilities it is more important than ever that personnel feel able to raise concerns about malpractice or wrongdoing.
“Why should defence personnel not be afforded the same employment rights as other workers when it comes to whistleblowing.”