Former South Antrim MP, Danny Kinahan has expressed his gratitude to all those members of the Veteran Support Group at Westminster who have worked to produce a joint letter to the Prime Minister demanding an end to the witch hunt of Army Veterans and Security Personnel.
Mr Kinahan was part of a delegation of MPs and Lords who handed the letter signed by 150 Parliamentarians in to Downing Street this week.
Danny Kinahan said: “The Ulster Unionist Party has campaigned hard on the Government’s legacy proposals. We have consistently maintained that the Historical Investigations Unit and Stormont House Agreement legacy mechanisms were not fit for purpose.
“From my time at Westminster I realised that there was an incredibly strong feeling and anger amongst very many MPs and Lords at the way veterans of both the Armed Forces and the police were being treated. It became very evident to me that we all needed to work together to ensure that service personnel were given protection wherever they served in the past and also the present and the future.
“These matters are not just a Northern Ireland legacy issue but one for all servicemen throughout the United Kingdom wherever they serve and wherever they live. This very serious matter needs to be handled by the Secretary of State for Defence, the Attorney General and the Northern Ireland Office, and to borrow the Prime Minister‘s words, must be dealt with in a fair, balanced, impartial, proportionate and transparent way.”
Mr Kinahan added: “This is especially pertinent in Northern Ireland where the legacy issues of the troubles loom like an ever present storm cloud over every aspect of our lives. Today’s letter calls for the very necessary re-balancing of how legacy is dealt with so that we take the political and money making side out of the matter and look after veterans and victims properly with no rewriting of history and no equivalence of terrorism with actions of state forces.
“Over 100 MPs from the Government’s own party supported this letter. When you consider 144 members of the Conservative Party in Parliament cannot sign the letter because they have a government role as a Minister, Whip or PPS, this is a huge number and shows the Prime Minster of the strength of feeling that exists. Those in the Lords include three former Chiefs of Defence Staff, two Admirals of the Fleet and a former Northern Ireland Secretary of State, demonstrating very clearly how badly the Government is getting this wrong and how it needs to rethink its approach.”