1. ITV Report

Secretary of state assures victims over compensation

Jon McCourt said Julian Smith intends to push legislation forward. Credit: UTV

Victims of historical abuse in Northern Ireland say they trust the new secretary of state to make progress on legislation for compensation.

It follows a meeting with Julian Smith at Stormont on Friday, which they described as “positive”.

They had been critical of former secretary of state Karen Bradley - but said Mr Smith assured them he will bring the legislation before Parliament.

The groups say that should be weeks rather than months.

Jon McCourt from Survivors North West said: “The secretary of state has said that he has already made approaches to Parliament looking for a slot for this legislation to go forward.

“He realises there’ll be a lot of stuff on the agenda but it’s his intention is to push this to the top of the list and at this point we trust him.”

The secretary of state said he plans to meet victims on a regular basis.

Mr Smith said: “It’s absolutely my priority to ensure we do deliver on the Hart report. I have written to colleagues in London and Westminster to try to get this bill moving as quickly as possible and I have agreed to meet the victims group again in about three weeks’ time.”