Karen Bradley apologises again for ‘inaccurate’ comments on Troubles

Northern Secretary seeks to ‘correct the record’ over remarks on actions of soldiers

File photograph of Northern Secretary Karen Bradley. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

File photograph of Northern Secretary Karen Bradley. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire


Northern Secretary Karen Bradley has issued an apology to the House of Commons for her “deeply insensitive” comments on state killings in Northern Ireland.

On Monday Ms Bradley appeared before MPs to “correct the record” for her “inaccurate” comments on the actions of soldiers during the Troubles.

Ms Bradley faced calls to quit after she told the Commons that killings carried out by the police and military during the Troubles were not crimes, rather the actions of people “fulfilling their duties in a dignified and appropriate way”.

She later tried to clarify her comments before making an apology the following day.

Raising a point of order on Monday, Ms Bradley said: “In response to an oral question on March 6th I made inaccurate comments regarding the actions of soldiers during the Troubles.

“It is right that I address these remarks to the House today and correct the record.

“What I said was wrong, it was deeply insensitive to the families who lost loved ones in incidents involving the security forces.

“I have apologised unreservedly for the offence and hurt that my words caused.

“Today I repeat that apology, both to the families and to members of this House.

“The language that I used was wrong.”

Ms Bradley said she was “grateful” to affected families for giving her the opportunity to apologise in person last week.

She added that any evidence of wrongdoing should be pursued “without fear or favour, whoever the perpetrators might be”.

Rule of law

Ms Bradley continued: “My position and the position of this government is clear: we believe fundamentally in the rule of law.

“That is a principle that underpins our approach to dealing with legacy issues and it’s one from which I will not depart.

“That is why I launched the public consultation on addressing the legacy of the Troubles.”

Shadow Northern secretary Tony Lloyd suggested Ms Bradley should make a fuller statement to the Commons, adding: “One of the prime necessities for anybody in the role she has is that they have the confidence not simply of the political parties but of the broader civil society in Northern Ireland, in particular the victims’ families, because of the pain that they’ve gone through for so many years.”

He said a justice process for these families had yet to be delivered, before saying Ms Bradley has “lost the confidence” of some political parties and the families.

Mr Lloyd added: “That makes her own position a very difficult one.

“I think she does have to think about what that means in terms of not simply her credibility but her capacity to do the job.” – PA