Ross questions Government over investigation into veterans

Moray MP Douglas Ross spoke during an urgent question in Westminster today (Thursday) where the Government was asked to outline its plans for dealing with legacy issues and the investigation of veterans who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

Following the exchange with Northern Ireland Minister, John Penrose, Douglas said: 

“As MP for Moray I represent a large number of veterans and I share their disgust in the way they have been treated by this Government. I asked for a specific timeframe for when details will be announced to take this issue forward, but unfortunately the Minister said due to the number of responses to the consultation about this issue, he was unable to give any exact timings.  He did however accept that Ministers had heard that Parliament expects this to be dealt with as a matter of urgency.

“The strength of public feeling makes it clear that this needs to be brought to a conclusion sooner rather than later. I had hoped the Government would be able to give some commitment about a time frame but I was reassured to hear the Minister ‘s comments that they are working hard to get through all the responses and his undertaking that the Ministry of Defence will do everything they can to bring a clear resolution to this matter, which I welcome. 

“A lot of constituents, including serving and former military personnel have contacted me about this and it is surely unthinkable that any soldier could be prosecuted for carrying out the job they were told to do in unimaginable and difficult circumstances like in Northern Ireland.

“We don’t need the pages of the book left open on this awful chapter in history.  We need assurances from government that our veterans, who served their country with pride and distinction, need not fear a knock at their door from investigators decades later.”