SNP councillor Chris McEleny has revealed that the Ministry of Defence is challenging his discrimination case victory.

A judge ruled at a preliminary hearing last week that McEleny had sufficient grounds to take his former employer to a tribunal.

The judge backed McEleny’s argument that support for Scottish independence is a “philosophical belief” and not just a political opinion, which means it is protected by equality law.

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However, McEleny, the SNP group leader on Inverclyde Council, tweeted yesterday: “Have been informed today that @DefenceHQ MOD have appealed to have the decision in the discrimination case regarding belief in Scottish independence reconsidered and revoked.”

McEleny claimed he was unfairly targeted over his support for independence while working as an electrician at a munitions depot in Bishopton, Renfrewshire, in 2016.

His security clearance was withdrawn after he announced he was standing in the SNP’s depute leadership contest. McEleny quit his job and said he would take the MoD to a tribunal.

He said he was questioned by officials from National Security Vetting – part of the MoD – on issues that included his views on Trident, his mental health, Irish politics, independence and Rangers FC.

Judge France Eccles ruled that sovereignty and self-determination were “weighty and substantial aspects of human life” and the case could go ahead.

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McEleny, who was backed by written representations from former First Minister Alex Salmond, argued that his belief in independence was “serious, cohesive and important”.

The MoD claimed independence and the values of the SNP are not political opinions worthy of respect in any democratic country outside the UK and that support for independence was not on a par with other beliefs.