Ferret Fact Service looks at the claim that Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson broke army impartiality rules by wearing military uniform.
For more see: https://theferret.scot/ruth-davidson-army-rules-military-uniform/
To be blunt, Honorary Colonels (of regular or reserve units) are expected to wear uniform when visiting their units - and wearing the uniform when visiting on appointment is pretty much mandatory*. Whether it is appropriate, or not, for a politician to be appointed Honorary Colonel is a slightly different matter, but this far from the first time this has happened.
- When the previous Duke of Buccleuch was appointed Honorary Commodore of HMS Claverhouse, he didn’t wear uniform, However, this was after he was confined to a wheelchair.
As someone who was having fun pushing the claim I would like t make two comments. Of course she wasn’t breaking the rules, however it could be rightly argued that a she was bending them as she is a political party leader and was appearing in public in uniform. I was always very careful to not do anything political in Uniform.
The real issue is whether she should have been appointed QR 4:143 refers. Is she a distinguished Civilian or is she ex service. If she is ex service was she a Lt. Col?
Clearly someone made a political decision to appoint her. Why uniquely among Holyrood politicians has she been so honoured? There are others Keith Brown being one who have had a more active political career.
The rules are actually about campaigning in uniform as opposed to doing anything ‘political’ in uniform (you can even wear the uniform of the HAC in the House of Commons!)
Ruth Davidson is ex-service (TA in 32SR) but seems to have had a medical retirement while an Officer Cadet (I am making assumptions here.) However, I suspect she was appointed on the grounds of her civilian “eminence” as opposed to as a “senior serving or retired Military Officer”.
[quote=“Army Reserve Regulations 4.413.e”]Nominees for appointment as honorary colonels can be either prominent civilians with no prior military experience or senior serving or retired military officers. Regardless of whether civilian or military, nominees should:
(1) Have achieved eminence in a field, either connected with the business of the unit or in the region of the unit.
(2) Have empathy with, although not necessarily a background in, military matters in general and, where
appropriate, the reservist concept in particular.
(3) Have links and influence in the local community.
(4) Be able to represent the unit at a senior level in the civilian and military arena, locally and nationally.[/quote]
Because it is 32SR and she was one of them?