The Tory MP attacking the government has some complaints we should all be aware of

Image of Johnny Mercer, Troubles era policing, and Theresa May
Support us and go ad-free

Johnny Mercer, the Conservative MP for Plymouth Moor View, has hit the headlines after attacking the government. People have credited a lot of what he had to say, but some of his complaints bear closer scrutiny. His criticism of UK security personnel being held accountable for potentially unlawful killings is one of them.

Mercer and the government

Mercer is a former soldier who wrote the book We Were Warriors. Before becoming an MP, he had never voted. He’s had disagreements with the government since taking office, but his voting record shows he’s generally voted in line with the party. There are two exceptions to this:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

In an interview for parliamentary magazine The House on 18 October, Mercer commented on the state of the government:

I mean, yeah, you realise it’s a shit show.

He also said:

If the situation was like it is now, I can safely say there would be absolutely no chance that I would try and be a Member of Parliament.

Regarding Brexit, he said:

If you look at Chequers, for example, that is your classic professional politicians’ answer because it’s right down the middle. It doesn’t make anybody happy.

And he claimed Universal Credit:

could be a defining policy of a modern, compassionate Conservative party.

But something which is getting less attention is his reference to Theresa May’s handling of the investigation into killings during the Troubles:

She did not answer in a way that made me proud to be a member of the governing party.


Mercer was referring to the PM’s comments that the investigation process into Troubles-era Northern Ireland saw:

a disproportionate focus on former members of the armed forces and the police.

The issue Mercer and other MPs have isn’t balance; it’s that soldiers are being investigated at all – something he described as “completely abhorrent”. He is part of a parliamentary movement seeking amnesty for soldiers who are suspected of committing crimes in the Troubles.

The Canary has previously reported on the killing of John Pat Cunningham:

The British Life Guard Regiment shot and killed Cunningham near his home in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. They shot him in a field. He was unarmed and described as “a vulnerable man with learning difficulties”.

In April 2015, Dennis Hutchings was charged with attempted murder. The case is still ongoing.

His killing is one of many that have gone unsolved.


An amnesty on Troubles-era killings would allow cases like John Pat Cunningham’s to be swept under the rug. It’s good that Mercer is now criticising the government he’s consistently voted in line with, but little of the coverage has focused on his actual politics. The risk is we start thinking Conservatives like him are a decent alternative to the current lot. They aren’t. And the horrors he’d turn a blind eye to show why.

Get Involved!

– Join The Canary, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.

– Contact Justice for the forgottenThe Pat Finucane Centre, and Relatives for Justice.

Featured image via UK parliament/Wikimedia, Annika Haas/Wikimedia, Sineakee/Wikimedia


Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed