Mordaunt announces consultation on legal protection for soldiers

Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt has announced a consultation process in response to demands for legislation to end repeated investigations into alleged historical offences by British troops.

Ms Mordaunt said the 12-week consultation process would give greater legal protection to serving or former personnel accused of committing offences abroad.

Ms Mordaunt wrote in The Daily Mail that just as Britain treasures veterans of older conflicts, so too it must support those that have served in recent campaigns including Afghanistan and Iraq.

She wrote: “They also never thought twice about giving their all for us. We owe them a huge debt as well. They had our backs. We must have theirs.”

F-35 Lightning jets overseas deployment
F-35 Lightning jets overseas deployment

Ms Mordaunt said the Government “must address the spectre of investigations into historic allegations. Veterans and serving personnel alike have been hounded by processes often not motivated by the pursuit of justice.”

The minister said she has made it a personal priority to provide veterans with better support and stronger legal safeguards.

Ms Mordaunt acknowledged there are occasional cases where serving personnel have committed offences, adding: “Such individuals should not escape justice.”

The Defence Secretary’s proposals apply to operations overseas, but she acknowledged significant concern about those who served in Northern Ireland.

She said the Government’s obligations to those veterans was the same.