SNP defence spokesman raises questions over MoD whistleblowing restrictions

 

A Scottish parliamentarian has exposed an internal document which bans the military from talking to their own MPs and has demanded to know what the Ministry of Defence has to hide.

SNP defence spokesman Angus Robertson insisted it was unacceptable, calling for military whistleblowers to be given the same protection as civilian employees. “Without whistleblowers we would never have known 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,” he said.

The document, obtained by Mr Roberston through a Freedom of Information request, informs forces personnel of every rank that they are “forbidden from discussing their work with MPs, MEPs or members of the Scottish or Welsh parliaments without ministerial approval”.

Mr Robertson, whose Moray constituency covers RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss barracks, questioned why this does not appear to apply to MoD civilian staff.

“I am appalled by this diktat which raises the obvious question of what the MoD has to hide,” said Mr Robertson. “Why should defence personnel not be afforded the same employment rights as other workers when it comes to whistleblowing?”

An MoD spokesman said: “There is no question of forbidding contact between officials and MPs.” They added the document “simply reminds MoD employees that ministerial agreement is required before any parliamentary contact and provides MoD points of contact for parliamentary business”

He added: “It is important that information provided to parliamentarians is coherent and reflects agreed final decisions which have been made by MoD ministers.”

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