MPs criticised for ‘drunkenness’ on Gibraltar military visit

MPs visiting troops in Gibraltar

David Linden

Three MPs have been accused of “undermining respect for Parliament” after they allegedly got drunk on a flight to visit UK forces in Gibraltar.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the SNP’s Drew Hendry and David Linden and Labour’s Charlotte Nichols had put their hosts “in a difficult position”.

The SNP called the claims “a Tory smear” and Labour has yet to comment.

The three were in a group of 15 MPs on the trip to Gibraltar, timed to coincide with Armistice Day.

It was organised as part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme, which aims to give politicians an insight into military life so they can “make a more informed and useful contribution to defence debates”.

A witness told the BBC the three MPs in question had been drinking in the airport lounge before departure and had then drunk heavily on the flight, being inebriated on touchdown.

Drew Hendry and David Linden

UK Parliament

The BBC understands other MPs on the trip had also been drinking. The story was first reported by the Times and Sun newspapers.

Mr Hendry and Mr Linden, who are still in Gibraltar, are said to have become argumentative when officials queried their Covid documents.

Charlotte Nichols

UK PARLIAMENT

And Ms Nichols has returned to the UK after what has been described as a “mental health episode”.

It is understood the MP for Warrington North, who is also a shadow equalities minister, has post-traumatic stress disorder and is on medication.

The SNP rejected the claims against Mr Hendry and Mr Linden, saying they had been “honoured to be invited” on the trip.

Mr Linden, MP for Glasgow East, said he was “incredibly disappointed” by the “bizarre Tory smear campaign”.

The MP tweeted a picture of the group, in combat fatigues, saying: “Honoured to be visiting service personnel in Gibraltar as part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme. Appreciating the opportunity to meet with and thank service personnel for everything they do.”

Mr Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, accused Conservatives of making “false claims”, saying: “That is a matter for their conscience. I’ll focus on doing my job and respecting our troops as we mark Armistice Day.”

He described attending a remembrance service as “very poignant”, adding: “The roll call of lost colleagues was especially moving. We shall remember them.”

Gibraltar

Pola Damonte via Getty Images

Mr Wallace said the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme was “an opportunity for both parliamentarians and the military to understand each other.

“This behaviour puts military personnel in a difficult position and risks undermining respect for Parliament,” he added.

The Army has had a presence in Gibraltar, a British Overseas Territory with a population of 30,000, for more than 300 years.

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