Belfast Telegraph

Bradley should be 'very proud' of work in Northern Ireland says PM as she makes appeal on behalf of abuse victims

Karen Bradley
Karen Bradley

Boris Johnson has said that former Secretary of State Karen Bradley should be "very proud" of her work in Northern Ireland.

The Prime Minister was speaking while responding to a question from Mrs Bradley in the House of Commons on Thursday.

He sacked Mrs Bradley on Wednesday and replaced her with former Tory Chief Whip Julian Smith. 

Mr Johnson also said that he believed soldiers should not be retried for historical offences unless new evidence comes to light.

Speaking just hours after losing her job Mrs Bradley made an appeal from the backbenches.

She said she had two priorities to ask Mr Johnson to consider.

"The people of Northern Ireland have been without government for two and a half years and that has affected many," the former NI Secretary said.

"Most deeply it has affected those that were victims of historical institutional abuse and those people who were severely physically and psychologically disabled through no fault of their own.

"Could he commit that he will deliver for those people?"

Mr Johnson said he wanted to thank Mrs Bradley for "working tirelessly to promote the restoration of government in Stormont".

"She has a record I think of which she can be very proud, if and when Stormont is restored it will be very largely thanks to her hard work, her efforts and her diplomacy," the Prime Minister said.

"She is also right to insist on the proper way of sorting out some of these very difficult legacy issues and I think it is common grounds across this house that it is not right that former soldiers should face prosecution, with no new evidence for alleged crimes when those charges were heard many years ago."

Compensation has been repeatedly delayed for victims of historical institutional abuse in Northern Ireland.

In January 2017 an inquiry led by Sir Anthony Hart found widespread and systemic abuse in children's homes across Northern Ireland and made a number of recommendations, including compensation for victims.

The government had previously committed to introducing legislation to compensate victims before the end of the year.

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