Ingram misled MPs on soldiers views

#1
The truth is out, thanks to FoI. Ingram must be subjected to intense questions in the Commons. Someone needs to have the b@lls to call him a "liar" otherwise the shameless liar will cling onto office.

From the Scotsman:

http://thescotsman.scotsman.com

Soldiers did not support merging regiments

JAMES KIRKUP
POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT


Key points
• MoD forced to publish soldiers' letters criticising regimental merger plans
• Letters contrast with ministers' claims of soldiers' support for plans
• Scottish infantry regiments to be merged into single unit

Key quote
"I probably meet more members of the armed forces than anyone else. I have many anecdotes, some from Scottish regiments, many of which come from serving warrant officers, who say: 'Keep going, because this is about the future army structure, not about the past army structure.'" - Adam Ingram, Armed Forces minister

Story in full GOVERNMENT claims about army support for the merger of Scotland's regiments have been undermined by documents proving that serving soldiers bluntly opposed ministers over their plans.

After a long and sometimes bitter campaign, the Ministry of Defence decided last year to merge five of Scotland's six infantry regiments into a single unit and scrap the sixth.

Under the Freedom of Information Act, The Scotsman has obtained letters sent from serving members of the Scottish Division to defence ministers in the run-up to their incendiary announcement in December.

Despite repeated statements from defence ministers in Parliament that many serving soldiers endorse the army reform, the MoD has been unable to provide a single letter of support. Instead, the published letters, without exception, condemn the MoD's plans. Several accuse ministers of "disloyalty" to the army.

The frank sentiments expressed in the letters are in stark contrast with the public statements ministers made about the feelings of the army.

Adam Ingram, the armed forces minister and East Kilbride MP, told parliament in November that "many" soldiers supported the merger plans.

"I probably meet more members of the armed forces than anyone else," the minister said at the time. "I have many anecdotes, some from Scottish regiments, many of which come from serving warrant officers, who say: 'Keep going, because this is about the future army structure, not about the past army structure.'"

Geoff Hoon, the then defence secretary, repeatedly dismissed the concerns of regimental campaigners as representing the views of retired, not serving, soldiers.

Mr Hoon told MPs when he announced the plan in December that: "I can assure the House that the views that the army has taken into account are those of serving soldiers, rather than those of retired soldiers."

The ministers may have felt comfortable claiming serving soldiers backed the amalgamations because there was little chance the soldiers would contradict them: Queen's Regulations prevent serving soldiers from unauthorised public comment about government policy.

But they are permitted to raise concerns with MPs, and it is letters to MPs passed on to ministers that the MoD has now been forced to publish.

The letters have been edited to remove any sign of the identity, rank or regiment of the authors, but the soldiers anger cannot be concealed.

"We have supported and saved your bacon during the Foot and Mouth crisis and the firemen's strike," wrote one soldier. "It would be highly disloyal to cut us now."

The defenders of the regimental structure believe that the new Scottish unit will struggle to recruit soldiers, because it will lack the local and family ties of the old regiments.

"I joined [my regiment] to be part of the best battalion in the British Army. I would not have even thought of joining any other," one Scots soldier told Mr Hoon. "I am proud to be a soldier [in my regiment] and want to stay that way - I would love my son to join."

Another wrote: "The family mentality and fine history of these six regiments will be lost if these changes are allowed to take place. It's the history and family feeling that's at the core of everything we do - it is this core that keeps us going during the hard times such as on operations."

One officer gave a clear warning that men in the restructured infantry would lack the same fighting spirit they have now. The changes will "end the spirit of selfless commitment", he writes.

Another writer, describing himself as a private soldier, says simply: "This regiment has been everything to me."

One soldier takes aim at ministers' argument that the restructuring would allow a more flexible, hi-tech army.

"I understand spending money on new kit, but I have yet to see a vehicle prevent a terrorist attack or save a life. There is no substitute for people on the ground."

The documents released to The Scotsman are among a tiny handful the MoD has been willing to publish about the new infantry structure.

The MoD has already been criticised by the Labour-dominated Defence Committee of the House of Commons for refusing to publish the advice ministers received from generals and officials about the restructuring.

And despite repeated requests, the MoD has refused to publish any internal documents showing how serving soldiers feel about the merger.

Unusually, it is understood that Mr Ingram personally took the decision that those documents should not be released. Most Freedom of Information Act requests are assessed by civil servants with no ministerial involvement.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman last night refused to discuss the details of the released letters, but defended the army restructuring.

"The benefits of the changes announced last year are clear," the spokesman said. "We will have a more effective army that is more flexible, and there will be benefits to soldiers and their families."
 
#3
When labour was in power in my area, i wrote to them , as the forces refused to issue my red book, after i had left for over 8 months, shame that, and since i talked to the shadow blokey on conservative side he kicked up a hellva stink about it, in the commons, as well as strongly worded letters to the people in glasgow. No wonder labour got ousted!!
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#4
Sabre said:
When labour was in power in my area, i wrote to them , as the forces refused to issue my red book, after i had left for over 8 months, shame that, and since i talked to the shadow blokey on conservative side he kicked up a hellva stink about it, in the commons, as well as strongly worded letters to the people in glasgow. No wonder labour got ousted!!
Well done Sabre, pity we can't remember the Shadow Blokes name but good on him too.
 
#5
Was it that nice Mister Churchill that the old dears are still voting for - or was Sabre's service a little more recent?.
 
#6
The issue of the future of the Jock Regiments aside; how can this man be allowed to state such a blatant lie and get away with it. He will face no censure, reprimand or punishment. He has misrepresented the views of the Army and yet will not be held accountable. The same with any statement of supposed fact; where is your source material Mr Ingram?

If I told such baseless whoppers, I would be charged with stating a falsehood. The man should be sacked for being a lying git.
 

Mr Happy

LE
Moderator
#7
IdleAdjt said:
If I told such baseless whoppers, I would be charged with stating a falsehood. The man should be sacked for being a lying git.
Perhaps he chose to listen to who he wanted to.. Its not as if we get the option of meeting visiting ministers with rotten eggs..

RSM "Right lads, that nice Mr Ingram is coming to visit this afternoon, all those that want to pelt him with rotten eggs get away to the kitchens smartish and grab some ammo off Chef, he's got palets of the stuff for you. All you chaps that want to meet him over drinks and tell him how you don't mind joining together with those lowlanders and even Johnny Frenchie in a Euro Army - the CO'll be hosting drinks this PM"
 
#8
The lying git was out and about at the Stirling Miliraty Show on Saturday. Looks just like all the rest of our MP's Lying kiniving B*$£ards. He was asking questions about TACTICAL & STRATEGIC RECRUITING. I had to walk away. Two Faced Gits the lot of them..
 
#9
IdleAdjt said:
how can this man be allowed to state such a blatant lie and get away with it.
The same way he got away with lies and misleading statements over service voting, presumably. This government has shown, time and again, that honour and probity are virtues that ministers should demonstrate; vide Blunkett, Mandelson et al.
 
#10
I know they only get told what they want to hear and if not, just lie because they will not be held accountable but it really p1sses me off. I for one would be happy to be part of the firing squad should we ever get a military junta who kicks these fools out.
 
#11
IdleAdjt said:
how can this man be allowed to state such a blatant lie and get away with it.

He actually said ""I have many anecdotes, some from Scottish regiments, many of which come from serving warrant officers, who say: 'Keep going, because this is about the future army structure, not about the past army structure.'" He never claimed to have anything in writing. The 'anecdotes' in question no doubt occurred during confidential one-on-one briefings. How surprising.
 

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