Immunity for Soldiers — [Mrs Madeleine Moon in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 5:09 pm on 20th May 2019.

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Photo of Gavin Robinson Gavin Robinson Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Defence) 5:09 pm, 20th May 2019

I am grateful for that intervention, and for the contribution from the hon. Lady’s constituent veteran. He is right. I do not support an amnesty. I will never support an equivalence between terrorists and those who stand up for law, order and democracy in our country—never. They are not the same, and when we published our report 18 months ago, no member of our Defence Committee supported an amnesty either. When a statute of limitations was proposed, the ask was very constrained. First, it recognised that the state had to discharge its duty under article 2 of the European convention on human rights. As the hon. Member for Beckenham said, all those cases were investigated. Secondly, there was no preclusion of a second prosecution if there was “new and compelling evidence”. Luke Pollard was right to ask what was meant by that.

The distinction between an amnesty and a statute of limitations is acute, and much more thought needs to be given to it. Where the state has discharged its duty and there has been a satisfactory investigation, and a veteran has been told, “Sir, you have no case to answer. Go home,” they should be allowed to get on with their life, unlike the scores and scores of terrorists in Northern Ireland who live with no fear of prosecution.