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Veterans

MP Calls For End To Historical Investigations 'For The Sake Of' Past And Future Personnel

Former Army officer and MP James Heappey said the Government should call a halt to investigations into military veterans.

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(Picture: Crown Copyright).

The Government should call a halt to investigations into military veterans, a Conservative MP has said.

Tory MP James Heappey, a former Army officer, said: "It is vitally important to those who are considering a career in our armed forces that they don't see old men in their communities being dragged into investigations for things that happened decades ago."

Mr Heappey asked defence minister Mark Lancaster if he agreed that the investigations should end, adding: "For the sake of those who have served, do serve and will serve in the future, does he agree that these investigations must stop now?"

In response, Mr Lancaster told MPs a written ministerial statement will be released on Tuesday.

A number of Northern Ireland veterans are currently facing charges, including Soldier F who faces four charges linked to Bloody Sunday in 1972.

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has been called on to give an oral statement to Parliament on what is being done to protect veterans from what some are calling "legal witch hunts".

Last week, she said she thought proposed legislation protecting personnel from historical prosecutions "should cover Northern Ireland".

Former defence minister Mark Francois said: "The most important issue with regard to veterans is protecting them from law-fare and legal witch hunts.

"Can I say it is absolutely imperative that the Secretary of State makes an oral statement to the House tomorrow, so that all members from across the House can question her on her proposals, which I am sure we will welcome given half a chance."

Defence minister Tobias Ellwood replied: "The point has been made, and the Defence Secretary will be in her place tomorrow.