My hon. Friend is right. The Ministry of Defence should take the lead on this matter, so as to defend our armed forces as they gallantly defend us.
If the Government used the same tenacity to pursue the real criminals, it would go a long way towards reassuring former and current loyal servants of the Crown, and their family members, that their service had not been and will not be forgotten. The state asked an awful lot of those men and women at the most crucial and bloody time—a time when its existence was in jeopardy. They were willing and ready to answer that call. As representatives of the state, we should do everything in our power to ensure that those people do not live the last years of their lives in fear of repercussions for protecting our citizens, our values and our United Kingdom.
Last week, the Secretary of State for Defence announced that British troops and veterans will be given stronger legal protections against prosecution. Those protections will prevent investigation of actions on the battlefield after 10 years, except in exceptional circumstances, so that there are no repeated or unfair investigations. Although I welcome her announcement, I was disappointed that, as my hon. Friend James Gray said, the protections will exclude those involved in Operation Banner.