My Marching Orders; Major Told to Resign over Attack on Army 'Snobs' May Appeal to the Queen

Article excerpt

AN Army officer who accused the service of being sexist, racist and snobbish was told to resign yesterday.

Major Eric Joyce now says that if his appeal against the order from the Army Board fails, he may petition the Queen.

As a last resort, he will take his case to the European Court of Human Rights, he says.

The 37-year-old major, who rose through the ranks after joining as a private and served in the Army's training and recruitment agency, has attacked 'Victorian-style attitudes' in the Army, saying it is run by a network of public school 'old boys' and thrives on class division.

He angered Army chiefs when he aired his views in a pamphlet for the Leftwing Fabian Society.

The major was called before the Army Board, accused of speaking about the Army without permission in breach of Queen's Regulations.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said that if his resignation was not received within two months, he would be discharged automatically.

But Major Joyce told BBC1's lunchtime news yesterday after a meeting with his commanding officer in Aldershot: 'At the end of the day, I can petition the sovereign, which sounds like a rather quaint process.

'If it's a meaningful thing to do then I'll do it. If not, I'll go directly to the European Court.

'I think there's a strong argument that people like me, service personnel, ordinary service personnel, have access to industrial tribunals, and can put their position in public on non-security matters, and I think I can win that case. …