MoD investigating ‘access for arms deals’ claims
THE Ministry of Defence is to investigate claims that retired military bosses offered to arrange preferential access to ministers to push for multi-million-pound arms deals.
Ex-senior officers, including former head of the army Lord Dannatt, are said to have offered to wield influence in Whitehall to undercover reporters posing as weapons manufacturers looking to sell unmanned drones to the UK.
Lord Dannatt – who was an adviser to David Cameron before the 2010 election – said last night he was offered an £8,000 monthly fee to approach senior MoD figures. He refused the money but did offer to “facilitate conversations”, he said, as he was told the hardware could save lives.
“These allegations represent a totally false picture,” he said. “I was interested because they were purporting to be developing technologies that could save people’s lives. I said I could facilitate conversations with people in the military. I did not offer to lobby anyone on their behalf.”
As many as five other figures are said to have been approached as part of the operation.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said ex-military chiefs have “no influence” over MoD procurement but promised an investigation into claims that some said they could get access to key decision-makers.
He said: “Equipment is procured in the interests of our armed forces and not in the interests of retired personnel. Former military officers have no influence over what MoD contracts are awarded.”
An MoD spokesman said it would be “looking to see if any of these individuals have broken any rules” and ensuring there was no possibility of privileged access.
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