British Labour leader and would-be Prime Minister Keir Starmer promises to repeal legacy act

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The man who would be the new British Prime Minister has put in black-and-white a pledge to repeal the NI Troubles (Legacy & Reconciliation) Act.

Keir Starmer has committed to scrapping the legislation in the Labour Party’s 2024 General Election manifesto that was launched on Thursday.

The law passed through the British Houses of Parliament last autumn and became effective in April of this year.

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The Act fulfilled a promise to end prosecutions of British Army veterans contained in the Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto.

The British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer during a visit to St. Columb's College last year.The British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer during a visit to St. Columb's College last year.
The British Labour Party leader Keir Starmer during a visit to St. Columb's College last year.

It is almost universally opposed in Ireland due to its provision of an amnesty for British soldiers, loyalists and republicans, accused of carrying out atrocities during the conflict here.

British Labour’s 136 page manifesto mentions ‘Northern Ireland’ just 15 times and there is only one page and 263 words in it dedicated to the North specifically.

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DERRY JOURNAL Editorial: Britain looking after ‘its boys’ with legacy bill

Last year during a visit to St. Columb’s College and before the ‘legacy act’ had been passed by MPs, Mr. Starmer said he would repeal the legislation if it was enacted.

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Last year during a visit to St. Columb’s College before the ‘legacy act’ had been passed by MPs Mr. Starmer promised to repeal the legislation if it was enacted.Last year during a visit to St. Columb’s College before the ‘legacy act’ had been passed by MPs Mr. Starmer promised to repeal the legislation if it was enacted.
Last year during a visit to St. Columb’s College before the ‘legacy act’ had been passed by MPs Mr. Starmer promised to repeal the legislation if it was enacted.

“I am very against the government's proposals in relation to the investigation and prosecution of these cases which is why we said if we come to power we will repeal that,” he stated.

Now Mr. Starmer has put pen to paper and made it a manifesto pledge.

"The Legacy Act denies justice to the families and victims of the Troubles. Labour will repeal and replace it, by returning to the principles of the Stormont House Agreement, and seeking support from all communities in Northern Ireland,” Labour’s ‘Change’ document states.

The outgoing British Government, in proceeding with the ‘legacy act’, broke with its own commitment in the 2020 ‘New Decade, New Approach’ to implement the legacy provisions of the 2014 Stormont House Agreement.

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Keir Starmer has committed to scrapping the legislation in the Labour Party’s 2024 General Election manifesto that was launched on Thursday.Keir Starmer has committed to scrapping the legislation in the Labour Party’s 2024 General Election manifesto that was launched on Thursday.
Keir Starmer has committed to scrapping the legislation in the Labour Party’s 2024 General Election manifesto that was launched on Thursday.

This had included a cross-border Independent Commission on Information Retrieval, that was agreed between a majority of the parties in the North and the Irish and British governments.

Back in December the Irish Government’s announced it was taking an inter-State case against Britain to the European Court of Human Rights over its unilateral ‘legacy act’.

Then, in February of this year, High Court judge Mr. Justice Colton ruled that the British Government plans to offer conditional immunities from prosecution for Troubles-era crimes and shut down civil actions under the ‘legacy act’ were unlawful.

Elsewhere, Labour has said it is also ‘committed to implementing the Windsor Framework in good faith and protecting the UK internal market’.

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The Windsor Framework, agreed between the British Government and the European Commission early last year, was an update of the Brexit Protocol designed to eliminate red-tape on goods between Britain and the north and protect the union and ‘sovereignty for the people of Northern Ireland’.

Labour’s manifesto describes the Good Friday Agreement, meanwhile, as ‘one of the proudest achievements of the last Labour government’.

“As a guarantor of the Good Friday Agreement, a Labour government will uphold both the letter and the spirit of the Agreement, along with the principle of consent on which it rests. We will work with the Irish Government to strengthen the relationship between our two countries,” the document states.

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