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Boris Johnson says Bloody Sunday ‘one of the darkest days’ ahead of Troubles anniversary

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has described the events of Bloody Sunday during the Troubles as “one of the darkest days”.

During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Mr Johnson said the anniversary of the 1972 on Sunday marks a “tragic day in our history” and called for a “shared, peaceful and prosperous” Northern Ireland.

Earlier in the chamber, the Secretary of State Brandon Lewis told the Commons his thoughts were with all those affected and quoted the former Prime Minister David Cameron in saying what happened was “unjustified and unjustifiable”.

“This was one of the darkest days of the Troubles. The 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday,” said Mr Johnson.

“I echo his [Brandon Lewis] call to learn from the past. And build a shared, peaceful and prosperous future.”

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Thirteen people were killed and 18 wounded when paratroopers opened fire on civil rights demonstrators on January 30 in 1972.

Another man died months later from his injuries.

Fifty years later no soldiers have been prosecuted for the killings.

Former PM David Cameron previously acknowledged that the killings were “unjustified and unjustifiable”.

Earlier on Wednesday during Northern Ireland Questions in the House of Commons, SDLP leader Colum Eastwood called on the British Army and the Parachute Regiment to issue a formal apology.

He said the regiment is "yet to apologise and condemn the actions of their soldiers on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972".

The MP said: "50 years ago this week the Parachute Regiment were sent to my city to murder 14 people. People who were unarmed, marching for civil rights."

He said: "Last weekend Parachute Regiment flags were flown on the outskirts of Derry. The Parachute Regiment rightly condemned the flying of those flags as a grossly offensive act against the victims of Bloody Sunday.

"But yet, they have yet to apologise and condemn the actions of their soldiers on Bloody Sunday in Derry in 1972. Does the Secretary of State think they should?"

In his response, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said: "We, as the Government, have to accept responsibility for what has happened in the past. When things are wrong we need to be clear about that, as we have been. It's right that we have apologised for that.

"I've added my own personal apology to the Government's for that. That is something we also need to ensure, that we are all working together to find a way forward to ensure that people are clear that violence is not an answer to anything in Northern Ireland or elsewhere."


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