Tory MP Mercer withdraws support from PM over veterans


Johnny MercerImage copyright
PA

Tory MP Johnny Mercer says he has withdrawn his support for Theresa May and her government over the historical prosecution of servicemen and women.

In a letter to the PM, the Plymouth MP said it was “regrettable” that he could not continue to support the government.

He called on Mrs May to end the “abhorrent process” of “elderly veterans being dragged back to Northern Ireland” to face possible prosecution.

He has previously called for legislation to stop this happening.

The former Army officer and member of the Commons Defence Committee told the BBC he had withdrawn support for Mrs May and that he would vote with the Conservatives on Brexit but nothing else.

In his letter, he said: “As you know, the historical prosecution of our servicemen and women is a matter that is personally offensive to me.

“Many are my friends; and I am from their tribe.”

BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg said the Conservative Party can “ill afford to lose MPs from [the]rising generation who have been able to win marginal seats” right now.

Mr Mercer told the PM he cannot “support your legislative programme any further until your government make some clear and concrete steps to end this abhorrent process”.

“The macabre spectacle of elderly veterans being dragged back to Northern Ireland to face those who seek to re-fight that conflict through other means, without any protection from a government who sent them almost fifty years ago, is too much,” he wrote.

“It appears that my values and ethos may be slowly, but very firmly, separating from a party I joined in 2015.

“I will not be voting for any of the government’s legislative actions outside of Brexit until legislation is brought forward to protect veterans from being repeatedly prosecuted for historical allegations and will be updating my constituents of this decision accordingly.”



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