Belfast Telegraph

Ex-Army Captain Danny Kinahan calls for soldiers amnesty to be included in Queen's Speech

Danny Kinahan
Danny Kinahan

Former UUP MP Danny Kinahan has put his name to a letter calling for an amnesty for British soldiers who served in Northern Ireland to be included in the upcoming Queen's Speech.

Mr Kinahan was one of a number of signatories to a letter sent to the Times calling for the amnesty to be included in the Queen's Speech on October 14.

A number of former soldiers are currently facing prosecution for their actions when on deployment in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

The former South Antrim MP, who now sits on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, served eight years in the Blues and Royals Regiment rising to the rank of captain.

He served in the Falklands, Cyprus, Germany, Northern Ireland and Windsor.

The letter was signed by a number of MPs and Army personnel including General Lord Dannatt, General Lord Ramsbotham, Colonel Bob Stewart MP and Mark Francois MP.

It said that it was "time to stop hounding former soldiers for alleged misconduct on operations in Northern Ireland and elsewhere decades ago".

"Consultation and prevarication have gone on for too long. The Queen's Speech on October 14 must include a clause that will initiate a bill in parliament to protect those who have faithfully served our country," the letter read.

"Over the last years hundreds of former soldiers have marched on parliament and more than 150 peers and MPs have signed a letter to 10 Downing Street demanding action."

The letter said that the Queen's Speech was the right time to bring forward the legislation.

British troops on the streets of Belfast in August 1969 (PA Wire/PA)
British troops on the streets of Belfast in August 1969 (PA Wire/PA)

"No one is above the law but there now must be a law to protect those whose selfless service has been to uphold the law," it read.

"The prime minister has promised action - he must now make good his promise. The Queen's Speech is his opportunity."

During the Tory leadership campaign Boris Johnson pledged to end the "unfair" prosecutions of Army veterans who served in Northern Ireland if he became Prime Minister.

"We need to end unfair trials of people who served their Queen and country when no new evidence has been produced and when the accusations have already been exhaustively questioned in court," he said.

"We must protect people against unfair prosecutions. And I will.

"I totally support the principle of cross-government work to secure world-class care and support for veterans."

In August Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said no Troubles veterans should be prosecuted unless there is new evidence.

Speaking to the BBC, he said that "99.9%" of those who served had obeyed that law, but that it is important to "to deal with new evidence when it's presented if there is an allegation of breaking the law".

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