The British military will no longer rust-proof its vehicles with cancer-causing paint after questions from an MP.

Ministers earlier admitted using primers containing toxic Chromium-VI - or hexavalent chromium - on their fleet.

They did so after being quizzed by West Dunbartonshire MP Martin Docherty-Hughes, of the SNP, who raised concerns over safety after military authorities in the Netherlands awarded compensation to exposed personnel.

Now the UK plans to repaint vehicles affected, such as tanks.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “Hexavalent chromium paint is no longer applied to any of our armoured vehicles and all existing vehicles will be repainted with chromate-free paint.”

It is understood the change took place in January 2019, after Mr Docherty Hughes asked his questions. MoD sources said use of the chemical had been “minimal” and that anyone applying it had been given appropriate safety equipment.

BACKGROUND: Dutch soldiers given apology for toxin in tank paint

Stocks of any remaining chromate paint are being destroyed. Germany banned such paint more than three decades ago and the Netherlands announced a compensation package to exposed soldier last year.

Chromium-VI, made famous by the Erin Brockovich contamination in California, is highly toxic and can cause cancer when inhaled or digested.

Mr Docherty Hughes now wants more details.

He said: “It is most welcome to hear that the MoD took the decision to change to a chromate-free paint for military vehicles after the questions I asked. We are entitled to wonder why it took them so long when other alternatives were obviously available.

“Does the MoD know how many former personnel have potentially been exposed to the paint at harmful levels? And while it is welcome to hear that it was latterly only applied in specific circumstances and with appropriate protection, I would be surprised if this was always the case: when did the MoD begin to take these precautions?”

“And finally, we now need to start asking if the UK will join our close NATO allies, like the Netherlands in setting up a compensation to those who have been exposed to this potentially cancer-causing chemical: As someone who represents a former shipbuilding community that has been dealing with the issue of asbestos for decades, I am under no illusions of the potential scale of this issue, will make sure that the MoD faces up to its responsibilities as an employer.”