Responding to comments from Secretary of State Brandon Lewis this afternoon announcing a delay in bringing legislation forward, the SDLP leader said that no amount of time will undo the opposition to the proposals from every political party in Northern Ireland.
Said the Foyle MP: “Brandon Lewis and the British Government just don’t get it. No amount of time will change the fundamental and principled opposition to the proposal for an amnesty for troubles related crimes.
“The British Government’s approach has been rejected by all of the North’s political parties and by the Irish Government.
“A unilateral move on an issue as sensitive as this, in the face of united opposition would represent an outrageous overreach.
“I take exception to Brandon Lewis’ comment that this is about ‘delivery for the people’.
“The only people that this government seems to be interested in is former soldiers being investigated for the most serious crimes committed against people in our communities.
“This is about denying the truth, shutting down justice and avoiding accountability.
“If the Secretary of State is genuinely interested in seeking agreement, he need only return to the Stormont House Agreement.
“Signed by the British Government and commanding the support of a majority of parties.
“This government’s departure from that text, and its obligations, tells you all you need to know about their interest in consensus.
“The SDLP will continue to oppose the plans for an amnesty.
“Our objective remains meeting the needs of victims and survivors,” added Mr Eastwood.