Northern Ireland news

Karen Bradley discussed getting British soldiers who served in the north 'off the hook'

Secretary of State Karen Bradley has faced calls for her to resign
Connla Young

Footage has emerged of under fire secretary of state Karen Bradley discussing getting British soldiers who served in the north 'off the hook.'

Ms Bradley made the remarks when she appeared before the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee in Westminster last November.

During a discussion about the introduction of a statute of limitations - which would protect British soldiers from prosecution - Tory MP and former soldier Bob Stewart said: “I think we have got to find a way of getting our soldiers off this hook.

“I think it’s up to political people like ourselves to sort it and change the law if necessary.”

Ms Bradley replied: “That’s what I want to do and I absolutely want to do that but we have to do it in a way that there aren’t unintended consequences, and that we do actually help to resolve the situation.”

Earlier she claimed that a statute of limitations would not stop legacy inquests.

“Those inquests are much of the problem, those are civil matters, they are not criminal and no statute of limitations would end those,” she claimed.

She said she was working to find a way “that we can all be happy that our service veterans and former police officers do not face harassment in the courts, do not face disproportionate focus from the legal services.”

Concerns have been raised after it emerged that responsibility for approving the appointment process and recommending the appointment of the next Police Ombudsman ahead of Dr Michael Maguire’s retirement in eh summer has transferred to the secretary of state.

Daniel Holder from the Committee on the Administration of Justice said: “There is a real issue that this secretary of state is now to appoint our next Police Ombudsman.

“Given her views and understanding of the issues, that is quite a frightening prospect.”

A spokesman for the Equality Commission said any recruit process for public appointments “is clearly within the protection of Northern Ireland’s anti-discrimination legislation”.

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