A FORMER head of the Army blasted the scrum of peers that left the House of Lords’ Upper Chamber just as tribute was being paid to those servicemen killed in a helicopter crash last month.

Among those named in a statement from Baroness Northover was Kington’s Oliver Thomas, who died in the recent tragic accident in Afghanistan.

General Lord Dannatt – who commanded the Army from 2006-09 – ¬ reprimanded those Lords who sat patiently through questions on the Thames tunnel, but fled during an update on the conflict in Afghanistan.

He said: “My Lords, I am very conscious that what I am about to say may not make me universally popular.

“It will not have escaped the notice of noble Lords that this Chamber was packed to the gunnels at the start of Question Time today.

“However, when the Minister began to draw attention to those who had fallen, noble Lords streamed out of this House in a way that was most unfortunate, given that six of our comrades had lost their lives. “

“On a military base no one moves during the Last Post. In your Lordships’ House, I respectfully suggest that no one moves while a tribute is being paid to the fallen. “

The shameful scenes can still be viewed on BBC iplayer from 33 minutes in at http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0444syr/house-of-lords-15052014 .