Thank you to constituents who have written to me about the plight of Dennis Hutchings and other veterans who served in Northern Ireland during the Troubles who are now facing possible prosecution.
I have nothing but the highest degree of respect for our military personnel and our veterans. These are the people who are willing to put their lives on the line to protect and defend our great nation.
In order to gain a greater appreciation for the work of the men and women in our armed forces who risk everything to defend our great nation, I decided to join the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme last year and committed to regularly visiting military bases and personnel across the country to learn more about and get a taste of their work.
Last year the Government ran a consultation on proposals to find the best way to meet the needs of victims and survivors and to help people address the impact of the Troubles in the areas of information, justice and acknowledgement and help Northern Ireland transition to long term-term peace and stability. The consultation has now closed and the feedback is being analysed.
Many of my parliamentary colleagues including the current and previous Prime Ministers have expressed their concern at the current situation where those who are most prone to being investigated for issues that happened in the past are those in our Armed Forces or those who served in law enforcement in Northern Ireland, while terrorists who ought to be investigated for their crimes are not being subject to the full force of law.
I share their concerns and want to see greater fairness in our justice system.
I also commend many of my colleagues who have pressed the Government to deal with legacy cases by protecting our soldiers and putting them first, while resisting any attempts to establish institutions that would scapegoat our military veterans to pander to Sinn Fein.
I intend on doing everything I can in my capacity as your local MP to support reconciliation and healing in Northern Ireland, while ensuring that nobody, especially our ex-servicemen, are unfairly prosecuted for lawful actions they took.
I will also be seeking to raise this matter directly with the Secretaries of State for Defence and for Northern Ireland and bring to their attention the points which constituents have so convincingly made when I next see them.