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

The right hon. Gentleman makes an important point; I do not think any of us here want to see 70-year-old former soldiers going to jail. However, in order to get to the truth, there has to be investigation. He has to acknowledge that part of this is tied up with the Belfast agreement; we cannot start to make changes without having an impact on that agreement.

In 2012, Her Majesty’s inspectorate of constabulary inspected the role and function of the Historical Enquiries Team. The subsequent report was highly critical of the Historical Enquiries Team, and in 2013 the PSNI announced that it would review all military cases relating to the period from 1968 until the time the Good Friday agreement was signed, in order

“to ensure the quality of the review reached the required standard”.

Surely, when we know the original investigations were flawed—they did not include full, written witness statements and did not take account of all the ballistic evidence—we cannot object to attempts to reach the truth.

This Parliament has a responsibility to support the peace process. None of us wants a return to the violence of the past. Reconciliation and trust are key elements of the process, but if this place were to introduce legislation that prevents still-grieving families from learning the full truth about those who killed their loved ones, that fragile process would be put at risk.