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'Insensitive' Karen Bradley outburst not a resigning matter, says MLA Beattie

Ulster Unionist MLA Doug Beattie has said the Secretary of State does not need to resign for claiming that security force killings during the Troubles were not crimes.

He said it would have been better had Karen Bradley apologised immediately after her controversial comments, but added that the fact she did eventually say sorry should be enough.

Mr Beattie said she had "put her foot squarely in her mouth" and her words had been "wrong and insensitive".

On Wednesday, Mrs Bradley told the Commons that over 90% of killings during the conflict were by terrorists and "every single one of those was a crime".

The other 10% by the security forces were by "people acting under orders and under instruction and fulfilling their duty in a dignified and appropriate way".

In a 'clarification', she said she was not referring to specific cases but speaking generally, and where there was evidence of wrongdoing, it should be investigated, whoever was responsible.

Mrs Bradley yesterday stressed she that she was "profoundly sorry for the offence and hurt that my words have caused".

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Mr Beattie said: "I accepted and understood Karen Bradley's clarification in Parliament.

"I believe she should not have left her apology as long as 24 hours, but I accept it.

"She made a mistake and said sorry, which is more than Sinn Fein have done to victims here."

Mr Beattie said that when Mary Lou McDonald was at Queen's University last month, the Sinn Fein president could have used the occasion to apologise to the family of Edgar Graham - the UUP politician and lecturer shot dead by the IRA in 1983 - but did not do so.

He added: "What Karen Bradley said was wrong, but it's not a resigning matter.

"There were state killings like Bloody Sunday which were outside the law and which may well result in prosecutions.

"But there are others like Loughgall which were most definitely not crimes."

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