Bear Grylls accused of breaking Scout rules at Tory conference

The TV survival expert, whose father was a Tory MP, was criticised by Labour deputy leader Tom Watson for his speech alongside two young members.

The 43-year-old ex-special forces soldier made a pitch for £50 million in Government funding, telling delegates at the Manchester conference : “If you ignore young people, you perish.”

Rule breaker?

But Mr Watson questioned the move, saying Scout Association rules explicitly ban members from taking part in party political events while in uniform.

“The Scouts’ rulebook says members shouldn’t take part in political events while in uniform,” he said.

“Bear Grylls seems to have broken those rules. But since Theresa May finds herself in the political wilderness perhaps she wanted him close at hand.”

‘They did not endorse a party’

A spokesperson for the Association denied any breach, saying; “We believe that neither the Chief Scout, nor the young people accompanying him broke the Association’s rules. They did not endorse a political party or a political candidate.

“The Scout Movement attended both the Labour and Conservative conferences this year as it has done in previous years to engage with politicians of different views.”

Critics said that while the Scout Movement did hold events at both Labour and Tory conference, Grylls – who was made Chief Scout in 2009 – did not personally appear at the Labour conference in Brighton.

Grylls defended his appearance in an Instagram post, writing: “For the record: I was not there as a member of any political party but simply to champion Scouts in seeking Government help to reach the toughest communities and most isolated young people in the country.”