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Karen Bradley's comments a resignation matter

Such was the furore over her ill-judged legacy comments that Karen Bradley had little choice but to apologise for the hurt caused but we are told she has not offered to go.

In another time, when a cabinet minister had made such a grievous error, not only potentially compromising the judicial process but causing grave offence to the relatives of those killed by the security forces, resignation would have been offered as a matter of course.

Many will remember Peter Brooke, who caused unionist outrage after singing 'My Darling Clementine' on the Late Late Show after the Teebane massacre in 1992.

Mr Brooke offered to resign, saying it was a 'perfectly straightforward decision'.

''I thought the authority of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland might be undermined and that was bad for Northern Ireland,'' he said.

Although his offer was not accepted, his approach belonged to an era when ministers were expected to take responsibility for serious misjudgments.

The world may be rather different now but Karen Bradley should reflect on her words and the likely impact they will have on the authority of her office.

The fact that she delivered an apology yesterday shows that her position has become decidedly precarious.

She could have retracted her remarks and said sorry on Wednesday rather than issuing a rather pathetic clarification. That may have taken some of the heat out of the situation.

It is not clear if her initial statement was simply aimed at Tory voters appalled at the prospect of British soldiers being prosecuted or if it indicates wider government thinking on possible amnesty.

What she has managed to do is alienate a large number of victims in the north and damage whatever credibility she retained with the nationalist community.

The British government has had ample opportunity to resolve legacy cases but has chosen to delay and obfuscate wherever possible.

Mrs Bradley's apology was entirely appropriate but not enough to restore public confidence.

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