THE Ministry of Defence (MoD) have lost an appeal to have a landmark decision on discrimination against independence supporters overturned.

SNP councillor Chris McEleny successfully won the right to take the MoD to a full employment tribunal in 2018 over his claim that belief in Scottish independence should be protected against discrimination.

The MoD sought for a second time to overturn the ruling, however Judge Frances Eccles rejected the bid, writing that it would not be "in the interests of justice" to reconsider her previous judgment.

She also pointed out that the MoD had not provided any new evidence since their first attempt to appeal the decision.

The fight began in 2016 following McEleny's announcement that he would run for the position of depute leader within the SNP.

The Inverclyde councillor was working as an electrician at the MoD plant in Beith at the time, however was quickly suspended and had his security clerances revoked.

He claims he was targetted for his beliefs.

In July of 2018 Judge Eccles agreed that his support for independence should have been protected from discrimination.

The judgement said that McEleny held “a fundamental belief in the right of Scotland to national sovereignty" which would be protected under equalities legislation as a stance that amounted to a philosophical belief.

In her decision Judge Eccles stated that “Mr McEleny has believed in the right of the Scottish people to self-determination since childhood”....and that she was satisfied that “self-determination, as a general principle, was an integral part of Mr McEleny’s belief in Scottish independence being concerned with how people living in Scotland are governed, where sovereignty lies and whether decisions taken about the future of Scotland are to be taken in Scotland or elsewhere.”

Speaking following the outcome of the decision, McEleny said: “ I very much welcome the decision and thank everyone for the support shown to date. Naturally, as I am sure people will understand, I will refrain from further comment until after the full conclusion of proceedings.”

The case will now progress to a full hearing later in the year.