Northern Ireland

Boris Johnson Pledges To Protect Troubles Veterans From 'Unfair Prosecution'

Boris Johnson's leadership rival Jeremy Hunt has also vowed to do the same.

Boris Johnson has vowed to protect Northern Ireland veterans (Picture: PA).  

Tory leadership contender Boris Johnson has pledged to end the "unfair" prosecutions of veterans who served in Northern Ireland.

The former foreign secretary joined leadership rival Jeremy Hunt in backing a public campaign supporting UK soldiers who served during the Troubles.

Mr Johnson told The Sun: "We need to end unfair trials of people who served their Queen and country when no new evidence has been produced, and when the accusations have already been exhaustively questioned in court.

"We must protect people against unfair prosecutions. And I will."

He also said he would appoint a Veterans Minister if he does become prime minister. 

A number of Northern Ireland veterans are facing charges, including Soldier F, who has been charged in relation to the killings of two protesters on Bloody Sunday in Londonderry in 1972.

On Monday, former defence minister Mark Francois said investigations into veterans who served in Northern Ireland are "a deep insult".

Burned out houses in Conway Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland during the Troubles
Burned out houses of a street in Belfast during the Troubles (Picture: PA).

In May, the Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt announced plans for legislation to provide stronger protection from repeated investigations into historical allegations for veterans of overseas conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Under the proposals, there would be a "presumption against prosecution" in relation to alleged incidents dating back more than 10 years unless there were "exceptional circumstances".

As it stands, the legislation will not apply to those who served in Northern Ireland.

However, in an apparent break with Government policy, Ms Mordaunt has said she intended to find a way they could be afforded similar protection.