Tory MP Johnny Mercer goes on strike against Theresa May over historic army prosecutions

Posted On: 
9th May 2019

Outspoken Tory MP Johnny Mercer has told Theresa May he will no longer support the Government in protest at elderly veterans facing prosecutions over historic killings.

Plymouth MP Johnny Mercer wrote an angry letter to the Prime Minister
Paul Heartfield / The House Magazine

The former Army officer urged the Prime Minister to end the “abhorrent process” that has seen former servicemen and women pursued over their alleged actions in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

In a letter to Mrs May, he said he would only vote with the Conservative government on Brexit and nothing else.

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Ex-military personnel have been pursued by police investigating events that happened decades ago in Northern Ireland.

Mr Mercer said: “As you know, the historical prosecution of our servicemen and women is a matter that is personally offensive to me.

“Many are my friends; and I am from their tribe.”

The Plymouth MP - tipped as a potential future Tory leader - told Mrs May he could not “support your legislative programme any further until your government make some clear and concrete steps to end this abhorrent process”.

He added: “The macabre spectacle of elderly veterans being dragged back to Northern Ireland to face those who seek to re-fight that conflict through other means, without any protection from a government who sent them almost fifty years ago, is too much.”

And he said: “It appears that my values and ethos may be slowly, but very firmly, separating from a party I joined in 2015.

“I will not be voting for any of the Government's legislative actions outside of Brexit until legislation is brought forward to protect veterans from being repeatedly prosecuted for historical allegations and will be updating my constituents of this decision accordingly.”

It is not the first time Mr Mercer has made clear his unhappiness with Mrs May.

In an interview with The House magazine last year, he described the Government as a "sh*t show" and said he would not vote Tory if he was not already an MP.