Belfast Telegraph

General Election 2019

Boris Johnson pledges to change law and put end to prosecution of Northern Ireland Troubles veterans

Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace

By Harriet Line

Boris Johnson has pledged to make changes to the law that could mean an end to prosecutions of Troubles veterans.

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The Prime Minister also said he would protect Armed Forces veterans from vexatious legal action as he announced a raft of measures to support military personnel.

The Tories want to end unfair trials of veterans where no new evidence has been produced and the accusations have been questioned exhaustively in court.

If they win a majority at the election, the party will introduce legislation to ensure the Law of Armed Conflict has primacy and that peacetime laws are not applied to service personnel on military operations.

Under the proposals, the Tories would amend the Human Rights Act so it does not apply to issues - including deaths during the Troubles - which took place before it came into force in 2000.

The pledge is among a package of measures the party is proposing to support military personnel, veterans and their families.

The Tories want to guarantee veterans a job interview for any public sector role they apply for in a bid to tackle stereotypes that might hold servicemen and women back from employment.

They would also provide Ministry of Defence funded "wraparound" childcare with breakfast and after-school clubs to cover early starts and late finishes for working military parents of children aged four to 11 years old.

And they will provide a one-year employers' national insurance contribution holiday for all UK companies that hire veterans in the first year after they have left service.

Mr Johnson, who will visit the Black Country today to mark Armistice Day, said his government would "always support" the Armed Forces. "As we remember the ultimate sacrifice made by our brave men and women for their country just over a century ago, it is right that we renew our commitment to the soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and veterans of today," he said.

"These measures will mean more childcare support for those who are currently serving. And it will mean that we harness the enormous contribution that veterans can make to our businesses and public sector organisations.

"If I'm elected on the 12th of December, I want the message from my government to our Armed Forces to be louder and clearer than ever - we salute you and we will always support you."

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace added: "In the days of advanced technology and automation it is easy to forget that the most important equipment in the armed forces are the men and women serving.

"This policy demonstrates our commitment to them and is a recognition of the pressures they face."

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