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Boris Johnson's plan would put armed forces above the law

UK soldiers in training

Boris Johnson's plan would put armed forces above the law

Boris Johnson has threatened to water down human rights legislation so that it will not apply to troops on military operations, even within the UK.

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU) said that Johnson is threatening a basic principle of democracy, that everyone should be subject to the same law.

The PPU added that Johnson appeared to have bought into the myth of a "witchhunt" against armed forces veterans, which has no connection with reality. Very few armed forces personnel are prosecuted for war-related crimes.

Boris Johnson made no mention of the human rights of armed forces personnel themselves. The PPU pointed out examples of forces personnel who have been punished for following their consciences, such as Michael Lyons who was imprisoned for seven months in 2011 after developing a conscientious objection to war but being refused discharge from the Royal Navy.

The PPU urged opposition parties to speak out against the Prime Minister's proposals and not to be frightened of the militarist lobby.

Symon Hill, Campaigns Manager at the Peace Pledge Union (PPU) said:

"In a democracy, everyone must be subject to the same law. We all have the right to a fair trial and we can all expect to be investigated if accused of a crime. Whether someone is prosecuted should be about the evidence, not about who they work for.

"The militarist lobby have spent years promoting their fantasy of a 'witchhunt' against armed forces personnel. There is no evidence of a witchhunt. 

"The armed forces need more human rights legislation, not less. For all his talk of respecting troops, Boris Johnson shows no inclination to give armed forces personnel rights to follow their consciences, express their views, join trades unions or leave their jobs when they choose."

In a separate election-related development, senior Labour figures have this morning been unclear about whether a Labour government would make use of Trident nuclear missiles.

The PPU expressed disappointment with Labour's ambiguity, and urged all opposition parties to make an explicit commitment to scrap Trident.