DEFENCE – OPERATION BANNER VETERANS – 9 July 2018
Dr Julian Lewis: The Defence Committee will warmly welcome the setting up of the dedicated team [within the Ministry of Defence to consider how to protect British veterans from prosecution for historic allegations]. Will the Secretary of State confirm that the Northern Ireland (Sentences) Act 1998 means that soldiers and terrorists alike cannot be sentenced to more than two years in jail, of which they will probably serve only half, and that in those circumstances, it is right that we should move to a statute of limitations so that we do not have an unfair imbalance where some are prosecuted and others are not?
[The Secretary of State for Defence (Gavin Williamson): My right hon. Friend is correct in his analysis of the current situation. We are keen to find a long-term solution to help all service personnel, from conflicts not only in Northern Ireland but in Afghanistan and Iraq, to ensure that vexatious claims are eliminated.]