Iraq soldier's father slams plans to protect MoD from negligence claims

The father of a soldier killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq has criticised Government proposals to reduce legal protections for British troops.

New plans would prevent service personnel from suing the Ministry of Defence for negligence, leaving decisions about compensation to an MoD-appointed assessor.

Colin Redpath, who fought for five years to sue the MoD over the death of his son, Lance Corporal Kirk Redpath, said the proposals were unfair on servicemen and women.

L/Cpl Redpath, 22, of Romford, Essex, died when a bomb exploded next to his poorly-armoured Snatch Land Rover in Iraq in August 2007.

He was among 37 service personnel killed in the lightly-armoured vehicles in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to reports.

His father told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: "At the end of the day they (the MoD) are an employer.

"The fire brigade, the police, the ambulance service, they all have to go out with equipment that works. And the right equipment. That should be the same for a soldier.

"If not, then what the MoD are saying is that we could send our boys and girls out with broomsticks. It wouldn't matter. There's no comeback."

The MoD plans, which are currently being consulted on, would also include a "no fault" compensation scheme for injured troops and family members of those killed.

Last year, the Chilcot Inquiry found a string of MoD failings in the preparation for the Iraq War, including a delay in replacing the lightly-armoured Snatch Land Rovers which are vulnerable to bombs.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the changes would "remove the stress of lengthy legal action" and ensure more money for compensation.

He said: "Our armed forces put their lives on the line to keep us safe. This new scheme will mean more generous payments to anyone injured - or the families of those who are killed - in combat.

"By making these changes we will put more money into compensation and remove the stress of lengthy legal action."

An MoD spokesman said: "This is about better compensation and, regardless of legal action, we already prioritise learning lessons from any incidents involving the safety of our personnel.

"Where there have been serious injuries or fatalities, we have robust systems and processes in place that allow us to record and investigate these accordingly and, in the unfortunate case of a death, the requirement for an independent inquest to determine the cause will of course remain."

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