Orders of the Day — Northern Ireland Act 1974

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:15 pm on 26th June 1985.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Nicholas Scott Mr Nicholas Scott , Chelsea 11:15 pm, 26th June 1985

We are certainly determined not to do that. The whole thrust of our policies is to defeat the IRA's aims and to eradicate terrorism from Northern Ireland.

The hon. Member for Foyle criticised the Government for our policy towards Sinn Fein. I freely accept that this is a matter for political judgment. It would be possible to move from the Government's present position in one of two directions: either towards the prescription of Sinn Fein, which is urged upon us by some people in Northern Ireland, or to give Sinn Fein equality of treatment as elected representatives. For the moment we believe that the policy enunciated by my right hon. Friend—that within the law we seek to draw as firm a distinction as possible between those who advocate constitutional politics and those who advocate violence—is the best way forward. However, I freely accept that it is a matter for political judgment, and that judgment could change from time to time according to the circumstances that prevail.

The hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. Ian Paisley) raised a number of points. My right hon. Friend will address himself to the question of parades and marches in his opening speech on the next order. If there are any outstanding points, I shall deal with them when I reply to that debate.