THE Ministry of Defence is fighting a decorated former Royal Marine officer turned whistleblower in his bid to have an employment tribunal examine his claim for unfair dismissal over concerns thousands of pounds of public funds were being wasted.

Lieutenant Colonel Mark McKinney, who says his repeated requests for a court martial or any similar hearing were turned down in contravention of his human rights, now says the MoD claims he is not entitled to a tribunal hearing either.

He said after an initial hearing in Dundee that MoD representatives argued on a point of law that servicemen were excluded from making an unfair dismissal claim under the 1996 Employment Act.

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The tribunal will now decide whether Mr McKinney can proceed with his claim."If the claim is correct, the law needs to be changed," said Mr McKinney. "It is disgraceful."

The 47-year-old, who was voluntarily running deer management services for the MoD, had complained to senior commanders that money was being needlessly spent hiring private contractors to assess deer populations on MoD land in Scotland, which his team could do for free. But the officer was dismissed after complaining that his grievances had been ignored.

The MoD would not comment.