Sarah Atherton: Q Hello General. To touch on one of Liz’s initial questions, please could you expand on your questioning of the legitimacy of the Bill and on why you think it works outside of international legal norms?
Sarah Atherton: Q Do your reservations also include the presumption against prosecution?
Sarah Atherton: Q Is there any reason why?
Sarah Atherton: Q I suppose my answer to that is that I might go to Tesco and work behind a counter, or I might go to the frontline and put myself in front of a round. They are not equal.
Sarah Atherton: Under the International Criminal Court’s article 53, there is a similar provision where you can exclude from prosecution, as there is here with the presumption against prosecution. It is not exactly the same, but very similar, so I do not think we are deviating from international legal norms. I will have to disagree with you, but I thank you for your comments.
Sarah Atherton: Charles, on Second Reading, three times I heard Opposition Members say that the British Legion is categorically against the Bill. I have heard it once in this Committee already. Can you confirm? Are you against the Bill?Q
Sarah Atherton: Q I am glad to hear that. Every Bill will never suit every person in every circumstance—that is just not possible—but would you not agree that the Bill makes great advancements to protect our veterans?
Sarah Atherton: Q Just going back to my point, a Bill will not cover every person in every circumstance, but this has to be a lot better than where we are now.
Sarah Atherton: Q No, I am not saying that at all.
Sarah Atherton: Q The six-year longstop, the point of knowledge or diagnosis—that is the only concern that the British Legion has?
Sarah Atherton: Thank you, Charles. By the way, your new TV poppy appeal is very good. I saw it this morning.
Sarah Atherton: Hello, Emma. It is good to see you again. I am intrigued with what you just said. A blunt question to you: do you feel that the Bill is necessary?Q
Sarah Atherton: Q Are you concerned about the interface between the service justice system and, perhaps, the service complaints ombudsman and what role they could play—if you feel that the Bill could be improved?
Sarah Atherton: Q Mr Al-Nahhas, you are talking to the uninitiated here. I absolutely agree that litigation is a strong conduit for change. For families who feel that they have been unjustly treated, how do they fund claiming and who funds the litigators?
Sarah Atherton: Yes, thank you.
Sarah Atherton: Q Hello, Major. I would like to thank you for your services, and I am horrified at what you have been through. Some critics say the Bill will increase the number of prosecutions and allegations taken to the international criminal courts. Given your experiences and knowledge of the Bill, what is your opinion on that?
Sarah Atherton: I was reading your discussion points and I was interested to read that the majority of lawfare cases arose out of compensation claims brought by Iraqis and Afghans. That opened the floodgate, which paved the way for lawfare civil compensation claims. Can you expand on that? Can you give the Committee some idea of the numbers we are looking at? How many criminal allegations, how many...
Sarah Atherton: Q It was numbers. I am looking for statistics.
Sarah Atherton: Q How many of those were false?
Sarah Atherton: To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions she has with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to ensure that potential future trade agreements with (a) Canada and (b) Australia make provision for British nationals living in those Commonwealth countries to have their state pensions uprated in line with inflation.