Burnham-On-Sea MP James Heappey

Former soldier and Burnham-On-Sea MP James Heappey has welcomed this week’s announcement from Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt that British troops and veterans will be given better protection against prosecution.

The new law would prevent soldiers from being investigated regarding incidents that occurred while on operational service overseas over 10 years ago.

Mr Heappey, who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland, has been part of a group of MPs campaigning for a limit such as this to be applied so that historical allegations cannot be investigated decades after the event.

The Defence Secretary said: “It is high time that we change the system and provide the right legal protections to make sure the decisions our service personnel take in the battlefield will not lead to repeated or unfair investigations down the line.”

Mr Heappey told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “I welcome today’s announcement made by the Secretary of State and know it will be well received by those who are serving and who will serve. Soldiers, sailors and airmen serving on operations must know that if they act within the rules of engagement and the laws of armed conflict they will be protected from vexatious investigations at a later date.”

“I am, however, concerned that those who served in Northern Ireland have been exempted from this protection. I have many constituents who have served in Northern Ireland and continue to fear that they will be dragged into these politically motivated historical investigations. I will continue to campaign for Northern Ireland veterans to receive the same protections that I, and other Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, have after today’s announcement.”