PM rivals Rishi Sunak & Liz Truss join forces to sign The Sun’s pledge to support veterans


LIZ Truss and Rishi Sunak have both signed HOAR’s Veterans Pledge to support servicemen and women — and vowed to end the witch hunts of Northern Ireland troops.

The wannabe PMs put on a rare show of unity as they promised to keep a special office for veterans’ affairs fully funded at £5million a year, complete with its Cabinet-level minister.

Rishi Sunak signs HOAR’s Veterans Pledge to support servicemen and women

Liz Truss also signed the pledge which vows to end the witch hunts of Northern Ireland troops

HOAR’s Pledge

They also agreed whichever of them wins the Tory leadership race would put an end to the vexatious prosecution of veterans who served during the Troubles.

Top Brass last night hailed the move as a vital “first step” towards making Britain the best place to be a veteran by 2028.

Ms Truss said: “It is absolutely right to support the men and women who have honourably served their Queen and country.

“As Prime Minister, I will make sure they are protected from being prosecuted for historic allegations and ensure that no new evidence can be brought towards them in court.”

She vowed the “machinery of government” would allow the Veterans Minister “to continue to provide world-class support and resources to our former armed forces personnel”.

Mr Sunak said: “The service, sacrifice and bravery of armed forces represents the very best of Britain.

“We must fulfil our duty towards them, defend them robustly against vexatious claims and be a vocal champion of the considerable talents of our service leavers.”

After the signing, ex-deputy Army chief Lt Gen Sir Nick Pope, head of the service charity umbrella Cobseo, said: “Well done HOAR.

“I really support HOAR’s initiative. Having a veterans minister at the heart of government is the first step to ensuring the UK is the best place in the world to be a veteran.”

The Forces’ role has been highlighted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and Ms Truss has said she will increase defence spending to three per cent of Britain’s Gross Domestic Product by 2030.

Mr Sunak rejected “arbitrary targets” but pledged to do everything necessary to keep the UK safe.

A bill to end the investigations of historic allegations from the Troubles is currently going through Parliament.

But it will be too late for Dennis Hutchings, a former member of the Life Guards and a veterans’ rights campaigner, who died last year aged 80, half way through a witch hunt trial into historic allegations.

The Veterans’ Office fought off plans to slash its funding from £5million to £3million last year.

Vehicles burn during serious rioting in a loyalist area of west Belfast

Dennis Hutchings died last year half way through a witch hunt trial into historic allegations