Belfast Telegraph

Sinn Fein slams Boris Johnson over pledge to end 'unfair prosecutions' of British soldiers

Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards

Sinn Fein has slammed Prime Minister Boris Johnson after he promised to legislate to prevent "unfair prosecutions" of former soldiers who served in Northern Ireland.

Mr Johnson, answering a question from Labour MP Sarah Jones during Prime Minister's Questions, said a balance had been struck in the deal to restore Stormont between those seeking truth about what happened to their loved ones who were killed during the Troubles and protection for the UK's Armed Forces.

"There is nothing in the agreement, I want to assure the house, that will stop us from going ahead with legislation to make sure that no one who served in our armed forces suffers unfair prosecution, vexatious or unfair prosecution for cases that happened many years ago when no new evidence has been provided," he told the House of Commons.

"We will legislate to ensure that that cannot happen."

Sinn Fein MP Francie Molloy called Mr Johnson's comments "ludicrous and unacceptable".

The Mid Ulster MP said: “It is ludicrous for the British Prime Minister to suggest that the British Crown Prosecution Service is unfairly pursuing unfair or vexatious prosecutions against former British soldiers.

“British soldiers who committed crimes in Ireland, including the murders of Irish children, cannot be above the law.

“The families of the victims of British soldiers have waited up to 50 years for truth and justice.

“That is wrong and unacceptable.

“The British government needs to end its foot-dragging and stalling and implement the mechanisms it agreed in 2014 in the Stormont House Agreement in a human rights compliant manner to deal with the legacy of the past.”

In the Queen's Speech last month the government promised to bring forward proposals to tackle what it calls "vexatious claims" that "undermine our armed forces".

The government also said it would seek better ways in dealing with "legacy issues" that provide "better outcomes" for victims and survivors.

A former serviceman, known as Soldier F, is currently being prosecuted for his part in the death of two people on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972.

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