Ulster Human Rights Watch (UHRW) confirms that it was not informed about secret talks on legacy at the invitation of the Archbishop of Canterbury in Lambeth Palace.

UHRW Advocacy Manager, Axel Schmidt, said: “It is most surprising, to say the least, that secret talks should take place to deal with the legacy of the past –  if such has indeed been the case.

“UHRW has received assurances from the Government that the consultation process that was initiated by Karen Bradley in relation to dealing with the past would be an open one, giving everyone in Northern Ireland and particularly victims of terrorism the opportunity to be involved in defining what would be the best way forward to address the past while pursuing truth, justice and acknowledgement.

“It would be interesting to know who took the initiative to organise these secret talks, why they were kept secret, what criteria were used to choose those invited to take part, what the agenda was, what the aim pursued by these talks was and whether these talks are part of a new process – in which case what is this new process about?

“UHRW has made substantial representations with the Government in relation to addressing issues concerning the past and will continue to do so. On behalf of victims of terrorism, I will be writing to Mr Brandon Lewis, Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, to ask him for clarification as to what these secret talks were about.”