Christopher Whiteside MBE is Conservative County Councillor for the Egremont North and St Bees Division of Cumbria County Council. The division includes St Bees, Bigrigg, Wood End, Moor Row, part of the Mirehouse area of Whitehaven, and surrounding countryside.
He is also deputy chair (political and campaigning) of the North-West region of the voluntary wing of the Conservative party.
Chris lives and works in Copeland with his wife and family.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
The Overseas Operations Bill
Today the Overseas Operations Bill returns to the House of Commons for its final stages of debate. The Bill will deliver on protection for service personnel and veterans from endless legal cycles and repeated investigations.
Our Armed Forces put themselves in harm’s way day in, day out, to keep our country safe – so it is only right that we protect them from vexatious claims and repeated investigations.
This is not about putting our armed forces above the law, but about giving British soldiers, sailors and air force people similar rights not to be placed in "double jeopardy" by being investigated repeatedly for the same allegations, to those which civilians take for granted, and about introducing a reasonable time limit to claims similar to the "statute of limitations" principle in the laws of many countries including Britain.
The Overseas Operations Bill will prevent the legal pursuit of our troops where there is no new evidence, by introducing a new five year limit on the time in which troops can be subject to civil legal claims, helping to stop unfounded investigations.
The government will introduce separate legislation to address the legacy of the past in Northern Ireland as quickly as possible - and in a way that focuses on reconciliation, delivers for victims, and ends the cycle of reinvestigations into the Troubles in Northern Ireland delivering on our commitments to Northern Ireland veterans.
By terminating the cycle of reinvestigations and claims that often plague our veterans, we can repay the extraordinary commitment and courage shown by the men and women who defend our nation, as part of our continued commitment to make the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran.