Politics

Conservatives Pledge Law Change To Protect Veterans If They Win Majority

The Prime Minister said he promises to change the law to protect Armed Forces veterans from legal action if his party wins a majority.

Boris Johnson has pledged to change the law to protect Armed Forces veterans from "vexatious" legal action, in the first full week of General Election campaigning.

The Conservatives want to end what they say are unfair trials of veterans where no new evidence has been produced and the accusations have been questioned exhaustively in court.

If they win a majority at the election, the party says it will amend the Human Rights Act so it does not apply to incidents that took place before the law came into force in 2000.

This change would also apply to the deaths occurred during the Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The pledge is among a package of measures the party is proposing to support military personnel, veterans and their families.

Murals commemorating The Troubles on the side of houses in Londonderry
If the Conservative party win the majority in the upcoming General Election, they pledge to amend the Human Rights Act.

It comes after the Tories announced plans to launch a railcard for veterans.

Mr Johnson, who will visit the Black Country to mark Armistice Day, said a Tory government would "always support" the Armed Forces.

The Conservative pledge includes measures to guarantee veterans job interviews for public sector roles, provide Ministry of Defence-funded "wraparound" childcare, plus tax relief for companies which hire veterans in the first year after they have left service.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has said the Tories' pledge to protect veterans from prosecution is not an "amnesty".

"This isn't an amnesty, because if people haven't been investigated and they haven't had an inquest, then of course, they won't be able to avail themselves of that," Mr Wallace said during an interview on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"This is about repeated and vexatious claims," he said.

"This is about people who have already had trials, have already been prosecuted, already had inquests," Mr Wallace added.

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry said she supports the Tories' plans to end vexatious claims against veterans but added that it should be up to the prosecuting authorities.

"Their main purpose is to stop vexatious and unfair actions; who could be against that? I don't think that, personally, you need to change the Human Rights Act about that," said Ms Thornberry during an interview on BBC's Today programme.

"In the end, it will be for the prosecuting authorities to decide when they prosecute and when they don't prosecute, and of course they shouldn't allow for vexatious or unfair actions," she added.

The Labour Party has announced plans to improve the working conditions for Armed Forces personnel, including increased pay.

The measures proposed by the party include scrapping the public sector pay cap and providing more housing.