SNP councillor launches employment tribunal against MOD

McEleny, an SNP councillor, was previously employed at MoD sites including RNAD Coulport,  the storage and loading facility for Trident nuclear warheads. Picture: Wikicommons
McEleny, an SNP councillor, was previously employed at MoD sites including RNAD Coulport, the storage and loading facility for Trident nuclear warheads. Picture: Wikicommons
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A SNP councillor has brought an employment tribunal against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) over claims he was discriminated against because of his membership of the party.

It is expected the case will consider whether or not support for Scottish independence amounts to a “philosophical” belief during the action brought by Christopher McEleny. a councillor on Inverclyde Council.

McEleny, SNP group leader at the Greenock-based local authority, worked as an electrician at an MoD munitions plant in North Ayrshire and had previously been employed at the Coulport naval depot on Loch Long.

He announced his intention to run for the party’s deputy leadership in 2016 but had his security clearance revoked shortly after, the Sunday Herald reported.

A party source told the newspaper that McEleny, who was also suspended from his post, was then investigated over his views on subjects including Trident and Irish politics. He was reinstated in 2017 but chose to quit his job over his treatment.

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“There can be no justification for the treatment that Councillor McEleny alleges and in a democracy we have a right to demand answers,” said Aamer Anwar, who is representing McEleny.

The councillor previously had secuirty status for around a decade before he was quizzed on his political beliefs by the National Security Vetting body.

His anti-Trident position is said to have been cited as a potential conflict of interest.

Anwar said: “The allegations that Councillor McEleny makes of his treatment at the hands of the MoD are a disgraceful abuse of power. They knew perfectly well he was no security risk yet appear to have used his politics against him. We are not living in the 1970s when the security services kept files on trade unionists, legitimate activists, and where blacklists were operated and lives wrecked.”

McEleny said: “I can confirm I am taking the MoD to an employment tribunal. I am unable to comment further.”

An MoD spokesperson said: “It would not be appropriate to comment on the details of an ongoing employment tribunal.”