DUP MP Jim Shannon discusses the Commons Defence Committee’s recommendation that the blanket immunity, given to the MOD over deaths of soldiers in training, should be removed.
The committee made the recommendation that the MOD should be subject to corporate manslaughter charges, and held accountable in the event of negligence leading to deaths during training exercises.
Jim Shannon said, “I think the committee came to this decision based primarily on our constituents who had contacted us, particularly Madeline Moon, the member (for Bridgend), who brought some specific individual cases.
"But the committee didn’t ignore the individual cases, we didn’t do one specific one because we have to look at the overall. 135 armed forced personnel have died in training exercise from 2000 -2016, so there quite clearly is an issue that has to be addressed.”
Adding, "I think what we’ve done is we’ve ensured we don’t dump down the training. We want soldiers to their highest peak of endurance, their highest peak of ability, we want them to be the best soldiers that there are.
"We believe they are after their training. But what we need to ensure is that the corporate manslaughter and homicide act, that there is a system in place that we can address that. Quite clearly there is a ‘Crown Censure’ that’s a system that we have in place. It’s been used 11 times since 2000. Has it been successful, well we feel that it hasn’t.
"So what we’ve asked for and what we’ve asked the MOD to do is to ensure that there is accountability in the process. So don’t dump down the training, but there’s a higher level of accountability, which comes automatically back to the MOD and we want to make sure that that happens.”