Ben Wallace accused of ‘disgusting smear’ for saying MPs were drunk on Gibraltar trip

It was Tory MPs that were ‘out on the lash until 2am’ – the SNP reportedly said

Lamiat Sabin
Thursday 11 November 2021 07:30
<p>The MPs travelled to the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, which is bordered by Spain, earlier this week </p>

The MPs travelled to the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, which is bordered by Spain, earlier this week

Two SNP MPs have denied “drinking heavily” on an Armistice Day visit to Gibraltar, calling the claims a “bizarre Tory smear campaign”.

Defence secretary Ben Wallace said on Wednesday he would complain to the both the SNP and Labour about alleged behaviour by MPs from the parties before and during a flight to the Overseas British Territory on Tuesday.

Mr Wallace said claims about the conduct of two SNP MPs – named as David Linden and Drew Hendry – and a Labour MP showed “a lack of respect for the enduring work of our Armed Forces” and risked “undermining respect for Parliament”.

A report in The Telegraph suggested the MPs, part of a 15-strong all-parliamentary delegation on the trip, had been “drinking heavily” during the flight to Gibraltar.

The newspaper’s sources also claimed Mr Linden and Mr Henry had been involved in an argument with Gibraltarian officials upon landing, alleging military staff were forced to intervene in the row.

The SNP has denied the pair behaved inappropriately, accusing the government of trying to deflect from the ongoing sleaze scandal ingulfing the Conservative Party.

An SNP spokesperson said: “These suggestions are inaccurate. Drew Hendry MP and David Linden MP were honoured to be invited to this important event and attended all engagements, including the welcome meeting and dinner shortly after landing.

“Instead of trying to divert attention from the Tory corruption scandal engulfing Westminster, Ben Wallace should be apologising for his role in it, including voting to get Owen Paterson off the hook.”

Mr Linden tweeted that he was “incredibly disappointed by what appears to be a bizarre Tory smear campaign in the media”.

Mr Hendry said the allegations were part of a “shameless attempt to divert attention from the Tory corruption scandal”.

One SNP source , speaking to The Herald, said: “The fact this was briefed to three Tory-supporting newspapers, with only Tories actually claiming it happened says it all.

“Drew and David were not drunk. They arrived at 16.45, and they were at a reception at 6.30pm. They were in bed by 10.30pm or so that evening, and in fact two Tory MPs stayed out on the lash until 2am.

“They’ve not missed any events, and have not even talked to those who have suddenly made these claims. It is a disgusting political smear on the eve of Armistice Day. The Tories cannot sink any lower.”

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