Northern Ireland: Majority of the UK public are against the Troubles Bill - New Poll

Amnesty commissioned a poll across the UK to gauge opinion about the Troubles Bill

Nine in ten UK adults said that people should still be prosecuted for serious crimes, even if they were committed decades ago, while only 6% say they should not

Six in 10 Tory voters said that those accused of Troubles killings should not receive immunity from prosecution in exchange for providing information about the crimes

These figures could not be clearer: the majority of the UK is opposed to this bill’ – Grainne Teggart

Amnesty International is strongly urging Peers to reject the highly controversial Troubles Bill as it reaches the second day of report stage, after polling figures have revealed how the UK public is firmly against the Troubles Bill.

The organisation also strongly encourages Parliament more widely to seize the opportunity in the weeks ahead to throw out the bill.

Amnesty, in response to the significant opposition to the bill in Northern Ireland, commissioned Savanta to conduct a poll across England, Scotland and Wales, which revealed that:

  • Seven in 10 (68%) of UK adults said people accused of serious crimes, such as murder, should not be able to receive immunity from prosecution in exchange for providing information about the crimes, while only one in five (19%) say they should (13% didn’t know).
  • Two thirds (65%) of UK adults said victims and/or the families of victims of serious crimes, such as murder, should have access to an independent inquest.
  • Nine in ten (87%) UK adults say that people should still be prosecuted for serious crimes, such as murder, even if they were committed decades ago, while only 6% say they should not (7% didn’t know).
  • More than half (53%) of UK adults say that those accused of killings in relation to The Troubles, should not be able to receive immunity from prosecution in exchange for providing information about the crimes, while only one in five (22%) say they should (25% didn’t know).
  • Six in ten (58%) of Tory voters said that those accused of killings in relation to The Troubles, should not be able to receive immunity from prosecution in exchange for providing information about the crimes.

Grainne Teggart, Amnesty International UK’s Northern Ireland Deputy Director, said:

These figures could not be clearer: the majority of the UK public is opposed to this bill. It is out of step with victims, out of step with the Government’s own electorate and – as this poll shows - at odds with public opinion across the UK.

“These morally repugnant plans are an affront to decency, human rights and the rule of law and must be scrapped.

“The Government has continued to ignore widespread concern from the UN, Council of Europe bodies, US Congress, Irish Parliament, Amnesty and many others.

“If they push this bill through, they will also now be ignoring their own voters. These figures must give the Government pause - it is, quite frankly, reckless to proceed with a bill so strongly opposed.

“Parliament has a significant decision to make in the weeks that lie ahead: will they stand with victims, or will they join the UK government in this act of betrayal and sacrifice victims’ rights to protect perpetrators?”

As well as this poll, Amnesty UK took to the streets in Belfast and Liverpool to speak to members of the public and gauge their opinion of the aims of the bill. A vox pop video of these interviews can be seen here.

Serious human rights concerns

Today (Monday 26 June) the NI Troubles (Legacy and Reconciliation) Bill reaches day two of report stage in the House of Lords.

The bill has already been overwhelmingly rejected by victims and victims’ groups as well as Amnesty and other human rights organisations, Northern Ireland political parties and the Irish government.

It has also prompted serious and repeated concerns from the US Congress, the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, UN Special Rapporteurs, the Council of Europe Commissioner on Human Rights and the Committee of Ministers.

View latest press releases