Mick has already noted the withdrawal by Peter Hain of the Northern Ireland [Offences] Bill, but, in his statement today, Hain makes a point about the inclusion of any members of the security forces who might have been involved in offences that is probably worth highlighting.It relates to the issue of the inclusion of any members of the security forces who might have been involved in offences here. An inclusion that, as I recall, the official narrative previously was Hain had introduced at the last minute –
From his statement today –
“The Government could have proceeded with this Bill when the issue was first raised seven years ago. We could have done so when the Joint Declaration was made in 2003. But we did not because the IRA had not delivered on its promise to end its war. We waited until that happened.
“Every Northern Ireland Party vigorously opposed the Bill, bar Sinn Fein. Now Sinn Fein is opposed because they refused to accept that this legislation should apply to members of the security forces charged with terrorism-related offences.
“Mr Speaker, to exclude any members of the security forces who might have been involved in such offences from the provisions of the Bill would not only have been illogical, it would have been indefensible and we would not do it. Closure on the past cannot be one-sided.
“That was, and is, non-negotiable.“[emphasis added]