News

Ex-army MP calls Leigh Day chief ‘dishonest’, claiming he has ‘completely destroyed’ lives of British soldiers

By on
28

Tense committee session pits Iraq torture lawyer against parliamentarians

Left to right: Johnny Mercer MP and Martyn Day

A Conservative MP, Johnny Mercer, who has served in the British Army, accused Martyn Day, the lead partner at Leigh Day, of dishonesty in yesterday’s session of the Commons’ Defence Select Committee where Day was giving evidence.

In one of many dramatic exchanges in relation to legal claims against the British Army arising out of the Iraq War in 2003, Mercer said to Day: “I know you have been dishonest”. As the allegation is protected by the rules of parliamentary privilege, Day reposted: “I would like you to go and repeat that outside of this building.”

Day’s firm, Leigh Day, had brought hundreds of claims against the Ministry of Defence in relation to alleged torture during the Iraq War by British soldiers. Subsequently, the 2014 Al-Sweady inquiry examined the way in which these claims were brought and found that specific claims relating to the alleged murder of Iraqi civilians were fictitious.

During an intense examination of Day’s legal practices, his principles, and, it appeared, underlying these, his patriotism, Mercer repeatedly referred to Day as “people like you” who are “clever at this”. He said: “you come here and make these allegations… which are a complete work of fiction.”

The 2019 Firms Most List

Mercer pressed on arguing that Day had “completely destroyed” British soldiers’ lives “with apparently no concern whatsoever” and that he was “deluded”. He asked Day: “are you proud of the lives that you have ruined?” To which Day replied: “I am proud of the system that we represent and the rule of law. The rule of law means that soldiers will have to give evidence: it is tough for them as it is tough for anybody else.”

Following the Al-Sweady inquiry, in 2017, Day and two other solicitors at his firm were investigated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) for misconduct but were cleared of allegations brought in the disciplinary tribunal and subsequently in the High Court. Mercer’s accusation of dishonesty on behalf of Day was not found by the SRA.

The committee was meeting to hear evidence on how former service personnel can be protected from investigation for events in the past and whether or not there should be a statute of limitation on claims against British soldiers. Day’s evidence was that there could be some form of limitation for less serious incidents.

For a weekly round-up of news, plus jobs and latest event info

Sign up to the Legal Cheek Newsletter

28 Comments

Anonymous

A Tory MP trying to take the high ground and talk about somebody completely destroying lives. Ironic.

Anonymous

What did the Leigh Day Chef have to do with it? Did he serve bad meals to soldiers?

Anonymous

‘ex army MP’- I didn’t know the army had its own MPs.

Anonymous

It says ‘ex-army MP’ not ‘ex army MP’.

Stop trying to be clever, it’s grammatically sound.

Anonymous

Cnut.

Anonymous

Plus the army does indeed have it’s own MPs – Military Police.

Anonymous

it is

Anonymous

OP is clearly the type of cunt who lives to do things like amend rogue apostrophes on consent orders sent by the other side thinking he demonstrates higher value but is just another litigation prick.

Anonymous

No. ‘It’s’ is perfectly fine.

If you really wanted to demonstrate your mastery of the language and your superiority over the initial poster (though why you would want to is anybody’s guess), the only blow you could have landed would have been to have criticised the use of a comma rather than of a semicolon. But you didn’t.

Anonymous

No deal Brexit

It’s gonna be biblical

A total crash, economic catastrophe

Finally the reckoning for the well off since the GFC

I want it all

VOTE LEAVE, TAKE BACK CONTROL

Anonymous

Riposted. Ffs.

Anonymous

I really don’t like the way Leigh Day are being treated – grandstanding North Korean speeches from “ex army” Tory mps with a baised agenda scoring cheap easy points

Yes… service personnel should be held liable if they breach international law or murder – especially when they are acting outside the scope of their employment

I suppose it’s so terrible that all those soldiers/war criminals from the Bloody Sunday massacre in Northern Ireland who rampageously mass murdered have to come give evidence and get questioned about their behaviour – typical fucking English imperialist behaviour #indyref2 #sturgeon4thewin #arbroathdeclaraion

Anonymous

Yeah, but tough to know what the ‘terms of employment’ are when you’re being shot at or dodging IEDs.

#arbroathsmokie

Anonymous

Well, not mass murder and indiscriminate shooting of U.K. citizens for political and ethno-religious reasons (I want really talking about Iraq)

Tommy

“I am proud of the system that we represent and the rule of law. The rule of law means that soldiers will have to give evidence: it is tough for them as it is tough for anybody else.”

Good answer, why should anyone be immune from the law or procedure.

Anonymous

True. Watch the video of the proceedings. The low intellectual level of the MPs is staggering. Mercer comes across as particularly dense, and is clearly too close to the issues to deal with the matters effectively – instead, he blusters his way through in a shouty manner, and is extremely rude to the witness. The simple fact is that the army is subject to the law of the land and, if soldiers conduct themselves unlawfully, they must be held to account. And just because a judge finds that a case is meritless does not mean of itself that the lawyer putting it forward was in regulatory breach in marshalling an unarguable position; this is a trite proposition of which the committee were ignorant.

Tommy

Perfectly said.

Why can’t the committee see this ? Why shouldn’t soldiers be accountable for unlawful actions ? Police are reprimanded for unlawful actions ( well some are.. but at least the process is in place) .. Why should soldiers be immune ?

The lawyer was simply trying to put forward the case … We see lawyers taking on hopeless cases all the time…

Tory MP’s taking the moral high ground ?…

Anonymous

“why should anyone be immune from the law or procedure”? Why indeed, which is why former soldiers such as Mercer are so disgusted at the persistent pursuit of soldiers for acts under extreme pressure, when IRA members were given a free pass.

Anonymous

Look! A squirrel!

Willie Wallace

IRA Members were not given a “free pass” – a political settlement was reached and a deal struck which the U.K. govt is insistent on throwing away despite the fact that the IRA upheld their end of the bargain and cooperated with the ceasefire

Again it’s English people treating IRA like terrorists, no the English govt is the real terrorist relentlessly terrorising all of its neighbours in the British isles, stealing, raping, looting, murdering, genocide (both cultural and real) dominating and crushing any resistance

No one talks about the deliberate genocide of Irish by the engineered patato famine, o the clearances, or banning of culture and language – England prevails always and they will be damned if they stick to their promises about the 1997 peace treaty and frictionless borders- who cares about the political settlement arising from the illegal occupation of NI which the U.K. got an excellent deal out of (Cease fire, Irish republic dropped its territorial claims) NOPE not for little baby boom englander and their absolute self destructive determination to have their own way at all costs

#

Anonymous

Calm down Paddy

Tommy

Have you possibly seen the pictures of soldiers urinating on naked injured people tied up on the floor? Is that what you call ‘an act under pressure’ ?

The ‘ persistent pursuit ‘ was a lawyer who had the gumption to challenge the system and more importantly defend potentially unlawful acts. He done nothing wrong.

No one should be immune from the law.

Anonymous

The IRA are child killing terrorists. That is a fact.

Anonymous

The English establishment are genocidal maniacs who murder and rape their neighbours to the west and north

The Ira were just resisting an illegal occupation/land theft by the English of Ulster, oppression should always be resisted

The English establishment is child killing genocidal maniacs – independence for Scotland NOW and a United Ireland

#auldalliance

Not Amused

Mercer is one of only a few sane politicians around these days.

Anonymous

Ex-military types are usually c*nts. Nothing unusual here.

Sgt

Say that to one’s face?

No?

Didn’t think you would, keyboard warrior!

#generationdrynites

Anonymous

People who call ex-military types c*nts are always wet blankets with a large streak of cowardice, who have usually lost the love of their lives to a soldier.

Join the conversation

Related Stories