THE Royal Navy has been urged to carry out a thorough review of its welfare procedures in the wake of a drugs scandal which saw nine crew members kicked out of the service for drug use.

Mr Corry spoke to the Advertiser after the junior ratings on Faslane-based HMS Vigilant all tested positive for cocaine.

The news, widely reported in national media at the weekend, led to questions over the adequacy of the Navy's disciplinary and welfare procedures for crew serving on board the submarines which carry the UK's Trident nuclear deterrent.

The nine submariners all fell foul of drug tests ordered by senior officers while the Vanguard-class submarine was docked in the United States.

Mr Corry, who lives in Helensburgh and served as Argyll and Bute Council's 'armed forces champion' until standing down as a councillor earlier this year, said: “The Royal Navy expects high standards from its personnel, as do the British public who they are a representing and protecting.

The job, however, has many pressures which, over time on service, can build up.

“In day to day jobs people can unwind over night or at weekends. This is not possible when on a long trip.

“I therefore think that it is perhaps time that the welfare procedures throughout the Royal Navy are reviewed to ensure our service personnel are not over stressed and need to resort to inappropriate behaviour to unwind.”

HMS Vigilant hit the headlines earlier last month over allegations of an affair between its captain and a female crew member.

Both were removed from duty pending an investigation by Navy and MoD top brass – and weekend media reports claimed that the vessel's second-in-command had also been removed from duty over separate claims of an extra-marital affair.

Argyll and Bute MP Brendan O'Hara, who was the SNP's defence spokesman in Westminster until a reshuffle in June, told the Advertiser he would be pursuing the issue with the Ministry of Defence.

Mr O'Hara said: “I have written previously to the MoD about disciplinary proceedings and I remain to be convinced. 

“I was reassured by the MoD several months ago and yet we have had this recurrence, so I tabled an urgent question first thing on Monday. It wasn’t called so I’ll be pursuing this with the minister.

“Naval personnel work in a highly pressurised and unnatural environment which would be challenging for even the most experienced.

“However, the absolute priority has got to be their personal welfare at all times, given the huge burden of responsibility they carry."

Helensburgh and Lomond's MSP, Jackie Baillie, added: “This kind of behaviour is completely inappropriate and the Ministry of Defence has taken the right decision to dismiss the individuals involved. There should be rigorous procedures for mandatory drug-testing across the Armed Forces.”

Since the weekend it has emerged that 80 Royal Navy crew members – including 18 submariners – were sacked in 2016 after testing positive for drugs.

A Royal Navy spokeswoman said: "The Royal Navy is reviewing how units going on deployment work with Royal Navy Royal Marines Welfare (RNRMW) and new guidance is due to be published next year.

"Such are the diverse needs of service personnel and their family and friends that RNRMW is on hand to help with the very specific challenges that can be encountered

"Those challenges might include deployment support, specialist welfare provision, community group support and voicing the particular concerns and issues that can accompany life with the Royal Navy.

"The Royal Navy takes the welfare of service personnel and families very seriously."