Northern Ireland

HIA Bill: Campaigners hopeful about PM talks on Monday

Stormont protest by historical institutional abuse victims in April 2017
Image caption Campaigners have been calling for compensation to be implemented since early 2017

A campaigner for victims of historical institutional abuse has said she is hopeful about a meeting with the PM on Monday to discuss the HIA bill.

On Thursday, the House of Lords finished its work on the bill enabling compensation payments to be made to NI abuse victims.

The bill has cross-party support, but it would need to pass by next Tuesday night before Parliament dissolves.

It is unclear if there is time for it to go back to the Commons before then.

Campaigner Anna Mercer said she and others hope to make "very strong representations" to Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday to pass the legislation.

Speaking on the BBC's Sunday Politics programme, Ms Mercer said: "This goes to the very top of government now and we'll be going over to Westminster tomorrow and Tuesday to meet with, hopefully, chief whips, Jacob Rees-Mogg and also the Prime Minister."

She added that victims had no time for "excuses".

Image caption Anna Mercer said campaigners are hopeful of a meeting with the PM and chief whips on Monday

"We're at the end of the line with this, it has to go through, we will be making very, very strong representations of this tomorrow in the hope that Tuesday will see it complete the Commons and get Royal Assent."

Victims have lobbied for compensation since the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry ended in 2017.

A Downing Street statement on Thursday said the government was committed to ensuring victims got the "redress they deserve".

The inquiry's final report in January 2017 recommended that all survivors of institutional abuse receive tax-free, lump sum payments ranging from £7,500 to £100,000.

However, it was published just days after the collapse of Northern Ireland's devolved government, and no ministers were in post to set up the redress scheme.

Since then victims' groups have lobbied the Northern Ireland Office to pass the necessary legislation through Westminster and also brought a judicial review challenging the lack of government action.

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