MP: ‘Why do soldiers need amnesty? They did nothing wrong’

Conservative former Army officer Bob Stewart has recounted some of the horrors he witnessed while serving in Northern Ireland, and has said veterans are owed a debt of protection.

Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 4:50 pm
A soldier on the scene of a booby-trap explosion in Ballymurphy, 14/10/82

In the Commons, the MP for Beckenham said soldiers have no need of an amnesty because they have done nothing wrong.

“It is a matter of huge importance to me,” he said.

“I speak as a supporter and a member of the Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans campaign.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“Personally I served over three years on operations in Northern Ireland.

“I have been involved in several actions there, witnessed several murders and I’ve also lost too many soldiers and friends who were working alongside me.

“I’ve also held innocent people caught up in terrorism who have died in my arms.

“It devastated me then, and it still does to this day.”

Mr Stewart (pictured) added: “I believe we owe our veteran soldiers and indeed all the people that tried to preserve peace in Northern Ireland, not just soldiers, we owe them who have had a continual threat of prosecution for many years, we owe them a debt. And we should sort this out.

“Our Northern Ireland veterans don’t want an amnesty, why should they have an amnesty?

“They’ve done nothing wrong. They obeyed the law, often at great risk to themselves, and they are rightly affronted when some people suggest that they’re just the same as terrorists, they’re not.

“They are most definitely not.”

A daughter of one of the 10 people killed at Ballymurphy, Breige Voyle (whose mother was Joan Connolly) yesterday described the Parachute Regiment of the British Army as a “disgrace”.

The same regiment went on to kill 14 people on Bloody Sunday.

“Unlike mummy, the Parachute Regiment only had hate in their hearts when they gunned down her and the others,” Ms Voyle said.

“They were not peacemakers, they were not brave soldiers. They shot my mummy, an unarmed mother of eight, from the safety of their barracks.

“They were cowards then, they were cowards now. They didn’t have the courage to appear at the inquest and face up to their crimes. We deserve answers. Why did they shoot my mummy?”

——— ———

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Alistair Bushe

Editor