BOLTON West MP Chris Green has welcomed the closure of the £60million investigation into British troops in Iraq — describing it as a "witch hunt".

The Iraq Historic Allegations Team (Ihat) was set up to review and investigate allegations of abuse by Iraqi civilians by UK armed forces personnel in Iraq between 2003 and 2009.

But earlier this year, Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon announced it would close this summer after a parliamentary report condemned the ministry.

Mr Green said: “The news that this witch hunt against British troops is finally coming to an end is very welcome news.

“This will end a nightmare decade for British members of the armed forces. I’m pleased that Sir Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, has made it clear that these ambulance-chasing lawyers will no longer be able to bring thousands of spurious claims against our troops.”

The comment from the Conservative came after he was contacted by Bolton West residents who were concerned about Ihat.

No successful prosecutions have been brought by the team in seven years – the only successful conviction to date is of an Ihat investigator who falsely impersonated a police officer in the course of his inquiries.

Almost 3,500 allegations, including murder and torture, were reported to Ihat, the vast majority by lawyer Phil Shiner, who was fired for acting dishonestly in bringing false claims made by Iraqis.

The parliamentary report branded Ihat “unfit for purpose” and accused the Ministry of Defence of enabling law firms “to generate cases against service personnel at an industrial level”.

It recommended that the investigation was shut down immediately.