A NEW petition has been launched in a bid to protect British armed forces veterans facing historic allegations and repeated prosecutions.

North East Hampshire MP Ranil Jayawardena, along with MP for Aldershot, Leo Docherty, are launching the petition to urge the government to introduce a statute of limitations to prevent British veterans being subject to historic allegations made against them.

The proposed petition to introduce the statute of limitations would protect veterans of conflicts in Northern Ireland, the Falklands, the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan and all other overseas combat operations.

Citing the link to the RAF in his constituency, Mr Jayawardena said that the government should protect forces personnel from allegations of historic misconduct.

The MP said: “The first duty of Her Majesty’s Government is to keep us safe from those who wish to do us harm. Our fantastic servicemen and women put their lives on the line to look after us—now we must look after them.”

This is not the first time that Mr Jayawardena has raised the issue with the government. He previously raised the issue in the House of Commons, asking the secretary of state for Northern Ireland if he agreed that those who put their lives on the line for our security on a daily basis should not face legal reprisals.

Mr Jayawardena added: “This government closed down Labour’s Iraq Historical Allegation Team (IHAT) and had tank-chasing lawyers struck off by the solicitors disciplinary tribunal, but it is vital we do more. It is disgusting that decent folk are now living in fear, with their reputations damaged for no reason.

“This petition calls on the government to let our brave veterans get on with their lives without having to look over their shoulders.”

To sign the petition put forward by Mr Jayawardena, go to ranil.uk/military.