Following the Second Reading of his Asset Freezing (Compensation) Bill in the House of Lords today, UUP Peer, Lord Empey, said:
“I am mildly encouraged by the Government's response to the Bill. It was clear that there was widespread support for the measure across the House, including from former Northern Ireland Secretary Lord (John) Reid. There was an acknowledgement that successive governments had not pursued the matter of compensation for victims with either vigour or consistency. However, the personal intervention of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has changed the dynamics and HMG is now committed at Cabinet level to put some real effort into dealing with this issue.
“We now move on to the next legislative milestone, which is Committee stage. I hope this Bill can be sent to the House of Commons this side of Christmas, and thereafter we will really know if the words of the Minister today that HMG will be 'seeking redress' have any real and substantive meaning.
“Nevertheless, despite all the caveats, today represented progress, and with the Opposition front bench fully committed to the Bill, it ensures that the Government will be unable to deploy the delaying tactics it used last year to extinguish the previous attempt to legislate to resolve the compensation issue.”