No amnesty for British troops over Ulster killings as Theresa May launches consultation
Theresa May has refused to give British troops who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles an amnesty from prosecution.
The Prime Minister faced down opposition from ministers, including Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, who said troops deployed during the 30-year-conflict who not prosecution for their actions.
Mrs May sided with the Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley who said there was no appetite for a “Northern Ireland-only statute of limitations”, which would have protected members of the Armed Forces from prosectution after a set period of time.
“The people have been very clear to me in Northern Ireland — the way to address the legacy of the past, the way to address the legacy of the Troubles, is for people to go through this process of understanding what happened, for victims to find out the truth and to see justice being done,” Ms Bradley said.
However, Mr Williamson, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Brexit Secretary David Davis and Trade Secretary Liam Fox, feared the move would allow soldiers to be prosecuted while terrorists went free.
The four-month consultation will investigate new methods to investigate, document and uncover truths about killings during the conflict.
It is based on a framework agreed on by British and Irish governments in 2014 but has been delayed by a series of disputes which has seen power sharing at Stormont collapse.
Ms Bradley said that the consultation, which she insisted had the backing of the cabinet, was only focusing on what had been agreed in 2014.
“At Stormont House, there wasn’t a situation where a statute of limitations was agreed because my experience from talking to all the parties is there is no support for a Northern Ireland-only statute of limitations which would apply across all offences,” she said.