Drew Hendry dresses up as toy soldier with BRITISH Army on winter freebie to Gibraltar

by Colin Campbell

DREW Hendry dressed up in military uniform and joined the ranks of British Army soldiers for a souvenir picture related to Remembrance Day.

This may well have been his finest hour.

But to me, the spectacle of politicians dressed up as toy soldiers makes them look ridiculous, no matter the timing or circumstances.

Drew Hendry, circled, in full military battledress.

When one of his predecessors as an Inverness MP, David Stewart, went to Iraq a number of years ago on a mission, as I recall, to help secure free phone calls home for troops, a photo appeared of him there in full battledress.

I wrote in a paper at the time that this did not fit in well with his image and the closest he’d come to action was probably firing a pop gun at the Black Isle Show. He did not approve of that observation, but he should have known better.

The same applies to Drew Hendry, although if he does have serious military credentials and maybe a medal for valour tucked away in a drawer somewhere I’ll be more than happy to publicise the fact.

And this was the British Army that Hendry donned battledress for. That is, the Army that Hendry and the SNP want to smash up under independence, and replace with a “Scottish Army”, which, as it would be bottom of the heap of spending priorities amid the peaceniks and quislings of the nationalist movement, would leave us vulnerable to invasion by the Faroes.

His “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum” appearance in the military line-up did not, however, divert attention from claims made that a few days ago he and two other MPs had been drinking and had made an exhibition of themselves on a military related excursion to Gibraltar.

These came from Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, and were widely publicised.

Hendry strenuously denies them as being false.

Is there any truth in them? Who knows? The SNP contingent at Westminster is mainly comprised of snouts in the trough chancers and charlatans in any case, so if there are a few drunks among them as well it would scarcely be earth shattering news.

But I have my doubts that these claims are true, at least not in the way they were luridly reported in some quarters.

Drew Hendry has no previous form for making a pest of himself through booze.

Maybe Ben Wallace is a rigorous teetotaller who lacks the powers to judge the difference between someone merely being a tad boisterous after a couple of drinks, and getting out of order. Or maybe he’d just got fed up with the ultra-sleazy SNP constantly aiming fire these days at “Tory sleaze” and decided to mount some kind of inventive counter-strike of his own.

Hendry is known for enjoying entertaining visitors to his beloved Westminster, but no reports have emerged of him being under the influence or behaving improperly there.

In this area there have been no reports, rumours or innuendo about him drinking to excess at any social occasion.

When I reported recently about a furious 8am Sunday phone call he made to my then boss about an article I’d written during the 2017 election, I said that before this bizarrely timed incident I assumed he’d been striding around in the early hours of the Sabbath in his pyjamas in a pent up rage, brought about by the pressures of the campaign.

And the unbearable thought that he would lose out on being returned to his much adored Westminster.

That would make some kind of sense. Hendry had gone in the space of a very short time from being a local councillor at Glenurquhart Road to the Mother of Parliaments with its lavish surroundings, salary and expenses. Is it surprising if the thought that he might not get back there could keep him awake at night and drive him to near frenzied despair, and prone to irrational behaviour?

The recipient of the call told me the next day he thought Hendry had temporarily “lost his marbles”. But he made no mention of him sounding in any way intoxicated, presumably because he wasn’t.

Hendry made reference to the Gibralter claims on Twitter. He said: “It’s deeply disappointing that Tory MPs have made false claims in a shameless attempt to divert attention from the Tory corruption scandal engulfing Westminster. That is a matter for their conscience. I’ll focus on doing my job and respecting our troops as we mark Armistice Day.”

Hendry is the best MP on Twitter we’ve ever had. But that rather limp offering wasn’t the best contribution from the Westminster warrior. A more forthright and aggressive denunciation of these claims was called for.

But apart from his mace grabbing antics in the Commons last December he is virtually unknown outside his constituency, despite having the joke title of SNP Shadow Trade Secretary.

Whatever happened or didn’t happen in Gibraltar is hardly going to deflect attention from anything. If Hendry thinks anything to do with him is going to be a matter of ongoing interest he’s overestimating his importance.

These claims will very quickly be forgotten and Hendry will return to being an occasional footnote in general coverage of Westminster.

They will do him no harm locally either, and certainly not among SNP supporters generally.

In the sprawling housing estates of Glasgow and Dundee where they draw much of their support, some SNP devotees are probably paralytic half their lives, or at least until their benefits money runs out.

So there’s no need for Drew Hendry to spend anxious nights pacing around in his pyjamas worrying about this one. Forget about it and move on.

The SNP have enough sleaze of their own to reflect on, from Margaret Ferrier to Derek Mackay and much in between. Too much to list here, although online columnist Effie Deans has previously listed scores of examples of SNP sleaze under the titles of SNP Hall of Shame. (Google Lily of St Leonards, it’s well worth a thoroughly gory, repugnant read).

Not to mention a party leader and First Minister who most people believe lied through her teeth over what she supposedly “forgot” during the Salmond affair.

But, leaving the booze fandango aside, Drew Hendry has found out yet again the many pleasures that Westminster has to offer.

While the rest of us back home were swaddled up against the early winter chill he was swanning about on a sunny freebie to Gibraltar.

Independence be damned. No wonder he loves being an MP at Westminster so much and is so fiercely determined to remain there.

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