UK & World News
Former Military Chiefs Face Lobbying Ban
Ex-military chiefs may be barred from contact with ministers and Ministry of Defence officials after several were secretly filmed claiming to be able to help secure deals for arms firms.
At least one of the six top figures filmed by The Sunday Times was still subject to the two-year lobbying ban imposed on former military personnel leaving public service, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said.
The rules state they cannot become involved in any activity which might be helped by their previous role for those two years.
Reporters posed as representatives of arms firms and arranged meetings with former top military figures and recorded them offering their influence and contacts with ministers and in return for six-figure sums.
Mr Hammond said any breaches of the lobbying rules would be investigated.
He also said the revelations were "deeply damaging to the individuals concerned and their reputations" but insisted there was "no way that retired officers influence the way that military equipment is procured".
Instead, he said those filmed were "rather bigging up their capabilities" and showing "bravado" to impress.
But the rules appeared to have been broken and may need tougher enforcement, Mr Hammond said.
"There are many, many reasons why it is sensible for the MoD to maintain contact with retired officers," he told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show.
"But if they are abusing that access for commercial purposes then we will have to tighten it up or maybe even shut it down. That is something we will now look at."
Labour has called for an investigation into the paper's claims.
Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: "These are grave allegations that have to be fully investigated. We need to know every detail, every meeting and every contact between those recorded in this video and those still serving in the MoD."
One of those accused by The Sunday Times was Lord Stirrup, who was alleged to have boasted that he had "old friends" in the MoD who would help in a lobbying campaign to win defence contracts. Lord Stirrup himself was not accused of breaking the two-year rule.
But the former chief of Defence staff told Sky News he was never paid to lobby MPs on behalf of arms firms .
He told the Murnaghan programme that he and his retired colleagues were only ever used for their expertise, not their influence.
"I was asked about my contacts. If you're pressed about them then of course you say what they are," he said.
"I was asked about whether I know ministers - and I do. What I also said, which was not reported, was that approaching ministers is not the way to do it... you need to understand the military's requirements, and they're not set by ministers."
Others senior military figures filmed by the paper were Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely, ex-head of the Defence Academy and now president of the Royal British Legion, former MoD procurement chief Lieutenant General Richard Applegate, Admiral Sir Trevor Soar, commander-in-chief fleet of the Royal Navy until earlier this year, and ex-head of the Army Lord Dannatt.
All deny breaking any rules, the newspaper said, and insist they had the best interests of the military at heart.
what do you think?
So is this not networking - OK for retired MPs to do it but not retired service poeple
No! It's not ok for MPs to do it.
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as an ex serviceman the reason this practise needs to stopped is because the end result is that the wrong equipment is purchased and can then ultimatly put serving soldiers lives at risk. I was in a unit in the 90's consisting of 30 personnel and we recieved 12 Land Rover defender's we couldn't use them as they could not be modified to suit our role so they were parked up and barely used for 3 years complete waste of money still i'm sure somoene did very well providing Landrovers to the the airborne brigade that coud not be parachuted into theatre
You have to laugh at this lot. They sucked up to politicians to get where they were in the services. Retire and try to gain more money by lobbying. Copied it from the likes of retired cabinet ministers who are more adapt at it. What a bunch of blood suckers our retired senior military men are with their politician pals.
So are we surprised? Wonder what kind of school they went to that emphasises the usefulness of contacts.
Thank you for the thumbs down. Someone is obviously unaware of (or chooses to ignore) the fact that ex-army chief Lord Dannat spoke of "targetting" the MoD's top civil servant because they went to the same school. Information that is obviously not available in the Mail.
So capitalism defeated democracy as well as communism.