Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, is under mounting pressure to order a leak inquiry after a serving general reportedly threatened that Jeremy Corbyn could face an Armed Forces “mutiny” if he became Prime Minister.
The general allegedly told The Sunday Times that if Mr Corbyn were elected Prime Minister “you would face the very real prospect of an event which would effectively be a mutiny.”
Even Conservatives expressed unease, but, as reported in The Independent, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) effectively ruled out attempting to take action against the general on the grounds that it would be almost impossible for any leak inquiry to identify him.
This has now drawn a furious response from the Labour MP and Defence Select Committee member Madeleine Moon, who called on the MoD and Mr Fallon to take action.
She said: “This is deeply worrying. I will be writing to Mr Fallon to express my grave concerns that the MoD is not going to investigate such a threatening statement made by a senior member of the Armed Forces to a journalist.
“Can you imagine how this is reverberating around the world? In many countries it will look as if the British military is threatening a coup, and the MoD doesn’t think it should be investigating. It is totally unacceptable.
“I shall also be raising the matter at the next Defence Select Committee meeting.”
Mr Fallon issued a two-sentence statement in which he said: “The Chief of the Defence Staff and I agree that these comments, if true, are completely unacceptable. We are absolutely clear that senior members of the military must of course always remain politically neutral.”
Mrs Moon, however, immediately condemned Mr Fallon’s response as “Just not good enough. He needs to take action.”
The MP for Bridgend added: “The general making such comments to a journalist and sending out such a threat like is tantamount to mutiny itself. I find it extremely sinister.
“And any Government and Prime Minister are appointed by the Queen, so were the general to carry out his threat, it would also be treason – which makes the idea that there should be no leak inquiry even more ludicrous.”
Asked precisely how many generals there were in the British Army, an MoD spokeswoman said: “We’re not going into that detail. It’s over 100. That’s all we are giving.”
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