The Ulster Unionist Party’s Justice Spokesperson, Doug Beattie MC MLA, has said he looks forward to the Government providing more detail on its plans announced in today’s Queen’s Speech, regarding how it plans to protect veterans from historical allegations and vexatious litigation.
Doug Beattie MC MLA said:
“Today’s Queen’s Speech has a section headed ‘The Armed Forces’ which has a sub-heading ‘Historical allegations/vexatious litigation.’ This is an issue of crucial importance to veterans across the UK and particularly in Northern Ireland.
“Further information and clarity is needed, not least with regard to the line ‘we will seek the prompt implementation of the Stormont House Agreement in order to provide both reconciliation for victims and greater certainty for military veterans.’
“Firstly, the Stormont House Agreement legacy arrangements do not enjoy the support of the Ulster Unionist Party, particularly with regard to the proposed Historical Investigations Unit, a parallel police force which would target former members of the security forces and which would be a disaster if it were ever to be introduced.
“Secondly, I am also very interested in the line ‘In parallel with the Stormont House Agreement institutions we will tackle the inappropriate application of the Human Rights Act to issues that occurred before it came into force.’
“Throughout the debate on legacy the Ulster Unionist Party has always been keen to ensure that the rule of law should be applied fairly and equally to all, and to avoid any legal action – however well-intentioned - that would open the door to a general amnesty which would apply to terrorists.
“I look forward to the Government providing more detail on its plans and in particular how it proposes to proceed in a manner which respects the rule of law, protects veterans from vexatious claims and which does not provide an amnesty to terrorists.”