The Northern Secretary has been criticised by Troubles victims' campaigners for declining an invitation to the screening of a film about the impact of killings on eight families.

Chris Heaton-Harris was invited to watch The Victims' Stories along with relatives and supporters at Queen's University in Belfast this Thursday.

But his office responded saying he could not attend as he will not be in Northern Ireland at the time. He asked for a copy of the film to be sent to him "to be viewed privately in his own time".

The email response also asked for the Northern Secretary to be made aware of any planned screening in the House of Commons in Westminster.

The film is part of the campaign against British government plans to end prosecutions for killings during the Troubles, which critics including the Irish Government, say amounts to an effective amnesty.

Raymond McCord, one of the relatives whose story is featured, has criticised the response.

His son, also called Raymond, was beaten to death by members of the loyalist paramilitary group the UVF in November 1997.

"As Secretary of State for Northern Ireland he is just a short plane journey away," he said.

"What an insult to victims. An obscene Bill being brought into parliament which discriminates against victims and promotes freedom and no accountability for murderers.

"It is unbelievable that for the first public showing of the film our new Secretary of State is not attending, plus the fact that not one government minister considers that the film is worth the journey to watch it.

"The message coming from the government and the Secretary of State is that they don't care and that is contemptible."

The film is to be shown to TDs and Senators in Leinster House on Wednesday afternoon.