MP proposes new laws ‘to protect service personnel who served during the Troubles’

Westminster
Westminster

A Northern Ireland executive cannot be established at the “price of pandering to Sinn Fein”, MPs have heard.

Tory former defence minister Mark Francois asked the Prime Minister if she agreed that it would be wrong to “allow a witch hunt” for people who fought to “uphold the rule of law”.

He asked Theresa May to stay in the Commons to hear a Ten Minute Rule Motion which seeks to create statutory limitations on court proceedings against current and former armed forces personnel for alleged offences committed during military operations.

This, he said, would “provide protection to those brave service personnel who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles”.

Mr Francois (Rayleigh and Wickford) went on: “Like her, I too ... want to see the setting up of the Northern Ireland executive but would she agree with me we cannot do that at the price of pandering to Sinn Fein and allowing a witch hunt for those people who served so bravely for so many years to uphold the rule of law?”

Mrs May said she was aware of the proposed legislation, and added: “We all want to see a Northern Ireland executive restored, we do recognise that this question of legacy issues is one that has been there throughout these discussions and continues in Northern Ireland.

“What I want to ensure is that any investigations that take place in the future take place in a fair and proportionate way because our soldiers did serve bravely as (Mr Francois) said in upholding the rule of law, but what is important is that we should never forget all those people who lost their lives at the hands of the terrorists in Northern Ireland.

“And it is important, as I say, that any investigations are conducted fairly and proportionately.”