Investigation of Veterans

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:41 am on 16th May 2019.

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Photo of John Penrose John Penrose The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office 10:41 am, 16th May 2019

May I start by saying that I certainly agree with the underlying premise of the hon. Gentleman’s point, which is that we need to make sure that we are doing the right thing by our armed forces? The difficulty lies with the legal underpinnings. The legal difference between soldiers serving abroad versus soldiers serving in Northern Ireland in support of the police is important. It means that our route to arriving at the goal that he wants to get us to, and that I want to get us to, has to be a different one. Let me take a specific case in point: people who suggest that we should have some kind of a statute of limitations for forces that have been serving abroad need to realise that if we try to do that in the UK, that statute of limitations, according to human rights law, would have to apply to all sides of the conflict in Northern Ireland.