BLOODY Sunday families have called for Attorney General to investigate whether Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has interfered in the judicial process

Their call came after Mr Williamson told the BBC he was saddened that protection against “spurious prosecutions” would not be given to service personnel in time for proceedings announced on Thursday in Derry.

John Kelly, whose 17-year-old brother Michael was killed, said the Attorney General should decide if the Defence Secretary or other politicians have broken the law. Mr Kelly said: “If they have, they should be charged.

“They cannot attempt to interfere in a judicial process just because they don’t like it, or because their voters don’t like it.”

MPs have campaigned for a statute of limitations which would prevent troops from being prosecuted for serving their country, including in Northern Ireland.

Mr Williamson had said: “We need to give protections to service personnel ... to ensure we don’t have spurious prosecutions. No-one in the Armed Forces wants to be above the law, but what we did need to do is ensure that they do have the protection so that they don’t feel under threat.

“It’s not just about Northern Ireland, but about Iraq and Afghanistan, conflicts before that and in the future. In response to a question about whether that would make a difference to Bloody Sunday, he continued: “Sadly, I don’t think that will come in time.

“I think we have to ask a real question as to Northern Ireland has moved on. There’s been so much progress - we’ve got to look to the future, not at the past.”