100 million reasons why the MoD should hang its head in shame

The Ministry of Defence has paid out more than £100 million on legal costs and compensation linked to the war in Iraq, ministers have revealed.

A “large proportion” of these were over allegations brought by the now-discredited Public Interest Lawyers, defence minister Mike Penning said.

Public Interest Lawyers represented complainants in the £31million Al-Sweady inquiry into a 2004 battle in southern Iraq.

It also brought the bulk of cases investigated by the Iraq Historic Allegations Team which was set up with a budget of £57 million.  The firm’s founder Phil Shiner was struck off as a solicitor earlier this year after he was found guilty of multiple professional conduct charges.

It is unbelievable that the MoD has paid such huge amounts into the hands of the wrong people and for so long.

Why was this money not used to support and defend individual members of our armed services? If it had, much of the evidence would have been discredited at an earlier stage saving taxpayers’ money – and years of anguish to those wrongly accused.

Hilary Meredith