Gareth Cross Twitter
The UK Government Veterans Secretary will resign over his anger over the treatment of British Army soldiers who served during the riot.
Johnny Mercer is leaving his post because he is frustrated that the government has not prevented retired troops from being prosecuted for murders during the conflict.
The Telegraph has reported that the Tory MP will remain in office until a bill to protect soldiers from « annoying » legal action has been passed by parliament. However, the legislation does not cover the murders in Northern Ireland during the riot.
Mr Mercer will remain in office until the Overseas Operations Act, which provides greater legal protection for service personnel and veterans from law enforcement who served overseas has, has its third reading.
The government had previously promised separate laws that will « address the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland » and deliver it in a way that focuses on « reconciliation ». It will end the « cycle of re-investigations into the issues that have failed victims and veterans alike, » the government said.
It is understood that the Minister of Defense, People and Veterans will be Prime Minister Boris Johnson and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove, has already informed him of his decision to resign.
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A number of soldiers are currently being prosecuted for their actions in Northern Ireland.
Among them is Soldier F, now in his 70s, who was charged with the murders of Jim Wray and William McKinney in Londonderry on Bloody Sunday. He also faces a number of attempted murder and denies them all.
Dennis Hutchings, 79, is the only former soldier prosecuted and publicly named for a death during the Troubles.
He is charged with the 1974 death of John Pat Cunningham in Co Tyrone . Cunningham, who had learning difficulties, was shot while escaping from a British Army patrol in Benburb.
Parachute regiment veterans Soldiers A and C, both in their seventies, will be tried next week in Belfast for they murdered official IRA man Joe McCann in the Markets region in 1972.
Mr Mercer is said to be unhappy that the Department of Defense was unable to prevent such law enforcement actions.
The former army captain has repeatedly put an end to legal action against Military veterans called for.
In 2019, he refused to vote on the issue with the government, with the exception of Brexit.
He wrote to then Prime Minister Theresa May and said the historical persecution of soldiers and women was « personally offensive » to him.
« You will not meet a serving soldier who does not believe those who The Plymouth MP wrote: « But these repeated investigations with no new evidence, the macabre spectacle of elderly veterans dragged back to Northern Ireland to face those who try to fight the conflict in other ways without protection from a government that sent them nearly 50 years ago. » is too much. «
Two Parachute Regiment veterans charged with the murder of an IRA commander in Belfast during the riot fear they will face reprisals from Republican dissidents if tried later this month.
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