Retd armymen may face ban on access to MoD: UK Defence Secy
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Retired senior military officers in the UK could see their access to Ministry of Defence "shut down" if the system is found to have been abused, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said, amid reports of lobbying by former army personnel on behalf of arms firms.
Hammonds comments came after several retired military leaders were secretly filmed by The Sunday Times offering to influence MPs on behalf of arms companies.
But Hammond said he was satisfied that the current system was "robust". The paper said all the officers involved have denied any wrongdoing.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it was probing whether it was possible for anyone to secure "privileged access" and whether any rules had been broken. On standing down, former members of the MoD have to serve a two-year period of "purdah", when they are not allowed to work in the private sector.
Reporters for the newspaper posed as lobbyists for a defence manufacturer and approached senior retired officers to ask if they would help them secure contracts. They alleged two retired officers, former Defence Academy head Lt Gen John Kiszely and ex-MoD procurement chief Lt Gen Richard Applegate, admitted they had lobbied on multi-million pound deals while they were in purdah.
Hammond was quoted by the BBC as saying, "I'm satisfied that the system we have is completely robust." However, Hammon said, "If they're abusing that access for commercial purposes, then we will have to tighten it up or maybe even shut it down."
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