Ulster Unionist Human Rights campaigner and former councillor Jeff Dudgeon has welcomed the DUP’s late conversion to opposing the presence of a charge of ‘non-criminal police misconduct’ as part of the Government’s legacy bill.
He is calling on the next Secretary of State to set aside the whole bill pending a full review of how legacy matters have been handled.
Jeff Dudgeon said:
“Whilst I obviously welcome the DUP’s new public position of opposing the creation of a charge of non-criminal police misconduct before 1998, the fact remains that it only comes two weeks out from an election and after months of pressure from the Ulster Unionist Party. Furthermore, it has only been extracted from them reluctantly at a press conference and does not form part of their manifesto.
“It would therefore be helpful and provide reassurance to the many vulnerable people - not least retired RUC officers and victims groups – if the DUP was to issue confirmation of their position in a detailed statement.
“This is indeed a radical and welcome departure, but the question remains as to why it has taken the DUP so long to arrive at this position, and just how committed they really are to it, given their longstanding support for the Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) and the Stormont House Legacy arrangements. Indeed the main legal adviser on the DUP side was Emma Little Pengelly and she must now resile from support for the HIU.
“That said, it is now time for the Secretary of State - post the election - to review the position with regard to legacy. The Ulster Unionist Party will be asking for the whole bill to be set aside by the new government and a full review of legacy and the relentless lawfare instead, so that we can thwart the rewriting of history, and agree on a legacy process that is truly balanced, proportionate, transparent, fair and equitable.”