UK News

Johnny Mercer: Veterans Minister quits government amid row over protections for ex-soldiers political news

Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer left government amid his discontent at the lack of progress on legislation to protect ex-soldiers who served in Northern Ireland.

The former army officer – who has made three tours of Afghanistan – said he was “sorry to have been relieved of my responsibilities” on Tuesday evening, suggesting he had been sacked.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Mr Mercer wrote: “It is with a heavy heart that I am obliged to offer you my resignation from the government.”

Shortly before news of his departure from government was confirmed, Mr Mercer told Sky News as he left Parliament on Tuesday: “I have nothing to say, they can all play these silly games – I don’t. am not interested.

“I have made my position clear to the government, I have nothing to say.”

Mr Mercer – who backed Mr Johnson for Tory leadership in 2019 – has been heavily involved in the Overseas Operations (Military Personnel and Veterans) Bill, which is in its final stages in Parliament.

The legislation plans to introduce stricter legal protections for British troops serving overseas, with ministers citing problems with an earlier investigation into allegations made against Iraq war veterans as an example of the need to legislate.

However, the bill does not apply to operations in the UK, including events in Northern Ireland during the unrest, although the government has promised to introduce separate legislation to address the legacy of the spent in Northern Ireland.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Mercer wrote: “I am deeply proud of my predecessors who served in Northern Ireland. They are not second-rate veterans.

“They deserve the protections of the overseas operations bill like everyone else. A political decision was taken not to include them.

“I promised on your behalf that we would not leave them behind and that we would march simultaneously …

More information about this article Read More
This notice was published: 2021-04-20 18:06:00