MoD compo revamp fury

Pte Lee Ellis
Pte Lee Ellis

Government proposals to reduce legal protections for British troops have been blasted by relatives of soldiers who paid the ultimate price.

New plans would prevent service personnel from suing the Ministry of Defence for negligence, leaving decisions about compensation to an MoD-appointed assessor.

Colin Redpath, who fought for five years to sue the MoD over the death of his son, Lance Corporal Kirk Redpath, said the proposals were unfair on servicemen and women.

Lance Cpl Redpath, 22, of Romford, Essex, died when a bomb exploded next to his poorly-armoured Snatch Land Rover in Iraq in August 2007.

He was among 37 service personnel killed in the lightly-armoured vehicles in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to reports.

Pte Lee Ellis, a one-time apprentice goalie with Wigan Athletic was another such victim. He was killed in 2006 when a bomb planted in an abandoned car detonated next to his Snatch Land Rover. The 23-year-old dad-of-one was in the Second Battalion of the Parachute Regiment and died alongside Captain Richard Holmes. It was argued their vehicle had inadequate protection given the dangers of where they were operating.

In 2011 the para’s family were told they would be allowed to sue the Government for negligence.

Lance Cpl Redpath’s father told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme: “At the end of the day they (the MoD) are an employer. The fire brigade, the police, the ambulance service, they all have to go out with equipment that works. And the right equipment. That should be the same for a soldier.

“If not, then what the MoD are saying is that we could send our boys and girls out with broomsticks. It wouldn’t matter. There’s no comeback.”

The MoD plans, which are currently being consulted on, would also include a “no fault” compensation scheme for injured troops and family members of those killed.

Last year, the Chilcot Inquiry found a string of MoD failings in the preparation for the Iraq War, including a delay in replacing the Snatch Land Rovers which are vulnerable to bombs.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said the changes would “remove the stress of lengthy legal action” and ensure more money for compensation. He said: “Our armed forces put their lives on the line to keep us safe. This new scheme will mean more generous payments to anyone injured - or the families of those who are killed - in combat. By making these changes we will put more money into compensation and remove the stress of lengthy legal action.”