A PEER who is fighting to clear the names of two RAF Odiham pilots blamed for the 1994 Chinook helicopter crash is threatening to disrupt parliamentary business over the row.

Lord Chalfont, a former Labour defence minister, warned that peers may amend legislation which gives parliamentary approval to Britain's armed forces.

Parliament has to renew Army, Navy and Air Force acts to keep Britain's armed forces in existence.

"These acts have to be approved every year and this year approval has to be given by August 31," explained Lord Chalfont.

"If approval is not given by this time then the Air Force, and possibly the other two services, would not be able to continue."

RAF Odiham pilots Fl Lt Rick Cook and Fl Lt Jonathan Tapper were blamed for the crash on the Mull of Kintyre — the RAF's worst peacetime accident in which 25 senior anti-terrorist officers died.

Fl Lt Cook, who was 28 and lived in Church Crookham, and 30-year-old Fl Lt Tapper, who lived in Norfolk, were found guilty of gross negligence by two RAF air marshals.

But in February a historic House of Lords select committee report concluded there were no grounds to blame the pilots.

Families and supporters of the pilots have called for the government to overturn the original Ministry of Defence conclusions, but this has not materialised.

Lord Chalfont and his fellow campaigners are unhappy the MoD has so far failed to respond to the report.

Campaigners say they were assured a response would be made in time for the House of Lords to have a debate on the issue before the summer recess, but this will not now be possible.

Lord Chalfont said the crucial issue was that of parliamentary sovereignty, and the government should respond.

"What I am trying to do is point out that the MoD in the case of the Chinook inquiry doesn't seem to be paying much attention to constitutional propriety," he said.

"They are not behaving under the rule of the law. All they have to do now is to set that verdict aside but they seem to be taking an awful long time about it."

Lord Chalfont said his amendment was not designed to harm the armed forces but to underline the importance of parliamentary sovereignty.

"The amendment is not something that anyone would want to carry to its conclusion unless the situation was very desperate," he stressed.

Fl Lt Cook's father John, a former Concorde pilot of Gally Hill Road, Church Crookham, said he agreed with Lord Chalfont's stance.

"We have been saying for ages that this is a constitutional problem," he said.

"Lord Chalfont wants to bring it to the attention of the Lords that this is a constitutional problem because the MoD is ignoring the law and parliament.

"If the MoD does refute the findings of the Lords select committee report then we will have a constitutional crisis on our hands."