Northern Ireland

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th July 1971.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Gerry Fitt Mr Gerry Fitt , Belfast West 12:00 am, 28th July 1971

I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 9, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely, the deteriorating political situation in Northern Ireland, and in particular the rôle of the security forces and the danger of increased violence. As you are aware, Mr. Speaker, I sat through the hours of last night and early this morning in the House in the hope that the subject I had sought to debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill would be reached. That was not to be, but I believe the House will agree that there is a very dangerous situation in Northern Ireland at present. There is an almost total and tragic polarisation between the communities in Northern Ireland. We have recently heard of the threat to create private armies, and we are all too well aware that there is a Right-wing Unionist campaign, ably supported by the Daily Telegraph and some of its leader writers, calling for the removal from office of no less a person than the Home Secretary. There is also the ever-increasing danger and possibility that throughout the coming days and weeks there will be an escalation of violence, bringing with it loss of life.

As we have only a few sitting days left before the recess, I urgently ask you and plead with you, Mr. Speaker, to grant this Standing Order No. 9 debate so that the House may be able to bring some pressure to bear and ensure that the tragedy which I see facing Northern Ireland does not occur.

Photo of Mr Selwyn Lloyd Mr Selwyn Lloyd , Wirral

The hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely, the deteriorating political situation in Northern Ireland, and in particular the rôle of the security forces and the danger of increased violence. The hon. Gentleman was kind enough to give me considerable notice that he would make this application. I have considerable sympathy with him, because it was only due to the selfishness of certain Members who made speeches of inordinate length during the night that he did not reach his item in the Consolidated Fund debate. But I am afraid that I cannot give the present application precedence, although I have indicated another possibility for ventilating the subject.