The Ministry of Defence launched an investigation today after a "generals for hire" scandal broke and now ex-military chiefs could be barred from contact with ministers and MoD officials.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced the new style "confined to barracks" for retired military top-brass after four of them were secretly filmed apparently offering to lobby for arms deals.
He said that at least one of them Admiral Sir Trevor Soar was still subject to the two-year ban on lobbying imposed on personnel leaving public service.
Any breaches would be investigated, he said, following claims in the Sunday Times that the senior former officers reckoned they could put the word in for multimillion-pound deals for arms firms.
Apart from Adm Soar, commander-in-chief fleet of the Royal Navy until earlier this year, those in the frame were Lieutenant General Sir John Kiszely, ex-head of the Defence Academy and now president of the Royal British Legion, former MoD procurement chief Lieutenant General Richard Applegate, and ex-head of the army Lord Dannatt.
The newspaper said: "All four officers have denied doing anything wrong and said they always had the best interests of the service at heart."
Reporters posed as representatives of a South Korean weapons manufacturer seeking to recruit them to help sell "drone aircraft to the British government."
Mr Hammond said the revelations were "deeply damaging to the individuals concerned and their reputations" but insisted there was "no way that retired officers influence the way that military equipment is procured."
He told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: "There are many, many reasons why it is sensible for the MoD to maintain contact with retired officers.
"But if they are abusing that access for commercial purposes then we will have to tighten it up or maybe even shut it down. That is something we will now look at."
Shadow defence secretary Jim Murphy said: "These are grave allegations that have to be fully investigated. We need to know every detail, every meeting and every contact between those recorded in this video and those still serving in the MoD."
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