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Appointment of a Victims` Commissioner is an early test for the Secretary of State – Lord Empey

Ulster Unionist Peer, Lord Empey, has stated that the Secretary of State, Julian Smith MP, should make clear that Judith Thompson will not be reappointed as the Victims` Commissioner. He made the comments after receiving a written answer from the Government on the appointment process.

Lord Empey said:

“It is inconceivable that with less than three weeks to go until the end of the current Commissioner's term of office, the Northern Ireland Office hasn't already held a process to either reappoint or replace Ms Thompson.

“The Commissioner has shocked many victims and survivors, the general public and some political parties with her assertion that the pension that Parliament has decided to make available to victims and survivors could also be made available to those who were injured by their own hand during the 'Troubles.'

“During the passage of the legislation through Parliament, it was made abundantly clear that the pension could only be paid to genuine victims and not to those terrorists who were responsible for a reign of terror lasting over thirty years.

“I can think of nothing worse than to imagine that someone who was injured as they planted a bomb designed to kill another person should receive taxpayers’ money in the same manner as their intended target.'

“This is an early test for Julian Smith MP, our new Secretary of State. If he reappoints Judith Thompson to the role of Commissioner, he will be endorsing her view that the pension should also be available to those who staged attacks. This is totally unacceptable. He should make it clear that she will leave her role on 31st August as scheduled.”

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Ulster Unionists