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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 6:54 pm on 20th May 2019.

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Photo of Carol Monaghan Carol Monaghan Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Armed Forces and Veterans), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Education) 6:54 pm, 20th May 2019

We must have confidence in the police and the judiciary in Northern Ireland, and it is for Stormont to reform those institutions if they are not serving Northern Ireland well. I certainly hope—I hope hon. Members will join me in this—that Stormont will function fully again in the future.

That said, none of us wants former or current members of the armed forces to be treated unfairly when accusations of wrongdoing are made. I hope that we all support the idea of justice being done, and that includes fairness to our armed forces personnel, who are entitled to due process in answering allegations made.

Our armed forces have our gratitude for defending us and our values in traumatic and highly stressful situations. The then Prime Minister David Cameron made a statement to the House on 15 June 2010, the day the Saville report was published. He said that

“the conclusions of this report are absolutely clear: there is no doubt;
there is nothing equivocal;
there are no ambiguities. What happened on Bloody Sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable. It was wrong.” —[Official Report, 15 June 2010;
Vol. 511, c. 739.]

Bob Stewart talked about the yellow card—he has his yellow card here—and about the rules of engagement that had to be adhered to during any conflict. However, Prime Minister Cameron went on to quote the report’s finding that

“none of the casualties shot by soldiers of Support Company was armed with a firearm…in no case was any warning given before soldiers opened fire.”