A SENIOR Conservative MP has said that he was ‘a kind of a torturer’ during the time he served as a British Army solider in Northern Ireland.
Bob Stewart, MP for Beckenham in South London, was stationed in the North during the 1970s.
In an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live yesterday, Stewart said: “There were five forbidden techniques introduced in 1977, some of which I’d used prior to that.””
“So in a way, technically as you look at it today I was a kind of a torturer. Of course it was acceptable then, it’s unacceptable now.”
The practices included subjecting prisoners to ordeals such as sleep deprivation and spread eagling, the latter of which involves keeping a prisoner’s limbs extended outwards for prolonged periods of time.
He also described times where he had shown people pictures of their friends who’d been blown up.
Stewart said that torture could be justified in certain sitautions where “a great number of people or indeed one person is going to be killed.”
The MP’s comments were made in relation to US President Donald Trump signalling his support for the use of torture technqiues.
Mr Stewart added: “We don’t like torture. No one likes torture. Not even Trump likes torture. But the fact of the matter is…sometimes it might work, and sometimes it might be justified.
“I don’t agree with waterboarding, but a certain amount of persuasion might be justified if someone for example had the knowledge about where a nuclear weapon that was going to explode in London was.
“That is where I suggest that people might say a certain amount of persuasion could be justified.”
Bob Stewartwas an Army officer for 26 years.
Aged 17 he attended Sandhurst, graduating in 1969 as an infantry officer.
He completed seven operational tours of Northern Ireland during the Troubles; serving there as a Platoon Commander, Intelligence Officer, Company Commander and a Commanding Officer.
He left the Army in 1996 and worked as a public affairs consultant until he was elected to Parliament in 2010 as Conservative MP for Beckenham.
Last November he joined the House of Commons Select Committee on Northern Ireland.