Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley facing calls to quit over 'insulting' Troubles deaths comments

Posted On: 
7th March 2019

Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley is facing calls to resign after appearing to suggest that deaths caused by British soldiers and police during the Troubles were "not crimes".

PA
Credit: 
The Cabinet minister triggered a backlash as she said British soldiers who had killed people in the Troubles were "fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way".

Ms Bradley was accused of "publicly interfering with the rule of law" and urged to step down after she told MPs that British soldiers who had killed people during the decades of bitter conflict were "fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way".

She said: "Over 90 per cent of the killings during the Troubles were at the hands of terrorists, every single one of those was a crime.

Theresa May praises 'excellent' Karen Bradley after Northern Ireland knowledge gaffe

Northern Ireland voters condemn Karen Bradley over ‘ignorant’ remarks on voting habits

Karen Bradley: I did not know people in Northern Ireland voted on constitutional lines

"The fewer than 10 per cent that were at the hands of the military and police were not crimes.

"They were people acting under orders and under instruction and fulfilling their duty in a dignified and appropriate way."

SDLP leader Colum Eastwood and Sinn Fein's vice-president Michelle O'Neill both called on the Northern Ireland Secretary to quit over the comments.

Mr Eastwood said: "Karen Bradley is publicly interfering with the rule of law. No one has the right to deliberately pressure or intervene with due process. She should resign."

Ms O'Neill added: "These comments are an insult to families who have lost loved ones at the hands of the British Army, state agencies and their proxies in the loyalist death squads which were directed by the British state.

"These offensive and hurtful comments should be withdrawn immediately."

Meanwhile John Kelly, whose teenage brother was one of 14 innocent civilians who were killed on Bloody Sunday, told the BBC: "Her place now is untenable - she should go."

Ms Bradley later sought to clarify her remarks in a point of order in the House of Commons - but she has stopped short of apologising for the comments.

She said: "The point I was seeking to convey was that the overwhelming majority of those who served carried out their duties with courage, professionalism, and integrity and within the law.

"I was not referring to any specific cases but expressing a general view."