Row Over Claims MPs ‘Got Drunk’ On Flight To Visit Armed Forces

One MP hit back saying it was a “bizarre Tory smear campaign” while another said it was an attempt to divert attention from the “Tory corruption scandal".
The MPs were on a visit to Gibraltar
The MPs were on a visit to Gibraltar
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

It has been a difficult couple of weeks for Members of Parliament as allegations of so-called “sleaze” engulfed the government.

But the behaviour of MPs has come under further scrutiny after it was alleged that three of them got drunk on a flight to visit troops in Gibraltar this week.

Labour MP Charlotte Nichols allegedly needed a wheelchair to get off a flight after drinking with other politicians.

It was also claimed that SNP MPs David Linden and Drew Hendry were “lairy” and “rude” with airport officials and needed military staff to calm them down.

They were part of a group of 15 MPs visiting Gibraltar for a three-day trip over Armistice Day with the all-party parliamentary group for the armed forces.

The trio were accused by defence secretary Ben Wallace of “disrespecting” the armed forces and he has written to Labour and the SNP to express his “disappointment”.

However, Nichols told The Sun her medication affected her tolerance, adding: “I had the same amount to drink as the others...It was less than five.”

Meanwhile, the two SNP MPs hit back denying the claims they described as a “bizarre Tory smear campaign”.

The SNP denied the pair behaved inappropriately and accused the government of trying to deflect from the sleaze scandal.

“Instead of trying to divert attention from the Tory corruption scandal engulfing Westminster, Ben Wallace should be apologising for his role in it, including voting to get Owen Paterson off the hook,” a spokesman said.

Linden labelled it a “bizarre Tory smear campaign” while Hendry said it was part of a “shameless attempt” to divert attention from the “Tory corruption scandal”.

Tory minister Paul Scully this morning said MPs had to “show responsibility”.

Asked if it was a “good look”, the small business minister replied: “No, it’s not. We’ve got to show responsibility.

“We are leaders. All 650 MPs are leaders in their own right and need to be held to a high standard.”

He said they had to “show our respect” for the armed forces - which was the point of the trip.

Meanwhile, Wallace told newspapers last night: “This type of behaviour shows a lack of respect for the enduring work of our armed forces.

“The scheme is an opportunity for both parliamentarians and the military to understand each other. This puts military personnel in a difficult position and risks undermining respect for parliament.”