House of Lords makes significant changes to Overseas Operations Bill

The Government has been defeated in the House of Lords over key aspects of the Overseas Operations Bill.

An amendment to the Overseas Operations Bill supported by Lord Stirrup passed by 300 to 225, rejecting the proposed six-year time limit on civil claims being brought by current and former service personnel against the MoD.

Peers said war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide and torture should all be excluded from a presumption that allegations will not be prosecuted after five years, unless there are exceptional circumstances. The House of Lords backed the changes by 333 votes to 228, a majority of 105, a move to ensure those offences are not covered by the proposed legislation, which is aimed at protecting UK personnel serving overseas from vexatious battlefield claims.

However, the House of Commons still has the power to reject or suggest additional amendments to those proposed by the Lords as early as next month.