SDLP bidding to recall Stormont over Troubles ‘amnesty’ row

T

he SDLP is to seek the recall of the Northern Ireland Assembly from its summer recess to address Westminster proposals to ban prosecutions for people involved in Troubles-related incidents.

The party’s deputy leader Nichola Mallon said the “British Government’s brutal intervention is hostile to the interests of victims and survivors and must be opposed”.

Proposals to end all Troubles prosecutions have been widely criticised by politicians and victims.

Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis said he intends to introduce a proposed statute of limitations which would end all prosecutions for incidents up to April 1998 and would apply to military veterans as well as ex-paramilitaries.

The proposals, which Prime Minister Boris Johnson said would allow Northern Ireland to “draw a line under the Troubles”, would also end all legacy inquests and civil actions related to the conflict.

Ms Mallon said: “To shut down justice and close off avenues for truth and reconciliation by providing an amnesty to state agents and paramilitaries involved in the most serious Troubles-related crimes, including murder, is absolutely abhorrent.

“These proposals are hostile to the interests of victims and survivors, they are opposed by all Executive parties and the British Government must withdraw them now.

“The SDLP has tabled a motion to recall the Assembly from its summer recess to address this matter and send a clear message to the British Government that we will not consent to this course of action.”

Northern Ireland’s political party leaders will meet Mr Lewis on Friday to set out their opposition to the UK Government’s plans.

DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson said a process had to be agreed which would allow victims to pursue justice.

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson (Peter Morrison/PA) / PA Wire

He told the BBC’s Nolan Show: “We will oppose that legislation, as I think will all of the Northern Ireland parties represented in the House of Commons.

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