Troubles legacy: MPs vote for Troubles bill to retain immunity

In the Commons, a bid to stop immunity from prosecution being offered for those who cooperate with Troubles investigation has been rejected.

Troubles legacy: MPs vote for Troubles bill to retain immunity

In the Commons, a bid to stop immunity from prosecution being offered for those who cooperate with Troubles investigation has been rejected.

MPs voted to keep the measure in the controversial legacy bill of the government, which is moving through Parliament.

They voted 273:205.

The widow of a farmer killed by the IRA warned that the government should not "trample" on the victims.

This bill provides amnesty for those accused of killings or other Troubles-related offenses.

It was argued by the Democratic Unionist Party, Alliance, SDLP, and other opposition parties that it was a "corruption in justice".

Conor Burns, Northern Ireland minister, said that the legislation was a compromise to address the past.

It was almost the same day that Iris Moffit Scott announced that she would commemorate the 39th anniversary her husband's murder.

In 1983, he was killed in his tractor.

The murder of the father-of-4, a 36-year-old man who was working near Omagh at that time, has never been prosecuted.

The IRA was responsible for the killing.

Mrs Mofitt Scott said that Malvern had taken her youngest son to school on the bus, and he has never seen him alive since.

He was a 36 year-old farmer who was doing a day of work when he was attacked by republican terrorists.

"Those brave men who shot unarmed civilians in the back never had the nerve to confess to their crime."

Separately, the government approved a Labour/DUP amendment to bar those who were involved in sexual offences during Troubles from amnesty.

Labour, some Conservatives and local MPs all argued that sexual violence was used to intimidate and that people who have committed rapes shouldn't be allowed amnesty.

Mr Burns stated that Number 10 had heard the opinions of other parties on this particular point "loud, clear".

He stated that it would be necessary to clarify the matter before the next stage of the bill can proceed, which is scheduled for next week.

The DUP amendment was also rejected by MPs to stop immunity being granted to anyone who has moved abroad in order to avoid prosecution following an arrest or charge with an offence.

Moffitt Scott stated that victims in Northern Ireland are not an "afterthought" for the government ahead of the debate.

She said, "I would ask for the British government to place victims where they belong and not trample on them. Don't treat them any differently than victims of terror in any other British town."

Boris Johnson would be a good person to ask to see my grandchildren and children in the eyes to see the effects and suffering that terrorists have on them.

The government stated that the current legacy arrangements are no longer working.

But, it happens that on the same day it is moving legislation, there are two court decisions which, according to opponents, weaken its argument.

It will ban future inquests related to the Troubles.

Some victims' families find it very valuable to have their day in court today.

Kathleen Thompson was the victim of a shooting incident that led to an inquest finding that a soldier had not justified her shooting.

Another case involved a civil action brought by the relatives of victims of the McGurks Bar Bombing.

A judge quashed their police report.

However, what happened today will not change the larger picture.

The government has taken a course of action that it is unlikely to stray from.

Moffitt Scott also stated that the emphasis should be on the lack truth from Sinn Fein and the IRA about the Troubles.

The government's Troubles bill was also criticised by the niece of a Belfast schoolgirl who was struck by a plastic bullet fired from a soldier.

Charlotte McCurry was 14 when her aunt Julie Livingstone was murdered. She said that truth and justice were essential for reconciliation and that people can move on.

She stated that "no victims support this" and she didn't believe anyone would want an amnesty for people who were involved with murder during the Troubles.

Ms McCurry stated that her family had lost hope of ever seeing justice. However, she claimed that files regarding the case were kept secret by the government up to 2064. This was unacceptable.

She said, "By then my aunt’s brother and sister will no longer exist, but we are determined continue the fight for Julie."

Ms McCurry was joined by a few other relatives of victims at Westminster Tuesday night for a production on victims' testimony.

The SDLP leader Colum E. Eastwood hosted the event.

"We felt it was important for MPs to hear first-hand about victims and their families in the hope that it might influence how they vote on the bill," explained Ms McCurry.

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