Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley has apologised for causing “offence and hurt” for suggesting deaths caused by soldiers and police in the Troubles were not crimes.
Ms Bradley had faced calls for her resignation after she told MPs yesterday that killings committed by the police and military were not crimes.
Her remarks were criticised by Northern Ireland’s former police ombudsman as showing a “complete disregard for the operation of the rule of law”.
- Read more: DUP’s Sammy Wilson: Brexit will not ‘take us back’ to the Troubles
- Read more: Government has 'no power' to change Northern Ireland abortion laws
Apologising today, Ms Bradley said: “I am profoundly sorry for the offence and hurt that my words have caused.
"The language was wrong and even though this was not my intention, it was deeply insensitive to many of those who lost loved ones.
"Where there is any evidence of wrongdoing this should be pursued without fear or favour, whoever the perpetrators might be. That is a principle that underpins our approach to dealing with legacy issues and it is one from which we will not depart."
British soldiers may face trial for the killing of 14 civilians in Derry in 1972.
Next week prosecutors will announce whether British soldiers will face trial for the Bloody Sunday killings of 14 innocent civilians in Derry, and relatives of those killed were among those calling for Ms Bradley’s resignation.
Ms Bradley had previously come under criticism after appearing to show little understanding of Northern Irish politics in an interview last September.
However a spokesperson for Number 10 said the Prime Minister had no intention of asking for Ms Bradley’s resignation, saying she had made a “fulsome apology” and had a “strong track record” in her role.