Orders of the Day — Northern Ireland Act 1974

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:48 pm on 26th June 1985.

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Photo of Mr John Hume Mr John Hume , Foyle 8:48 pm, 26th June 1985

Hold on a minute; I am talking about what we do as a political party. We supported for office a member of the party of the hon. Member for Antrim, North (Rev. I. Paisley) in an area where we had an overwhelming majority, in pursuit of our policy of partnership, to try to break down the barriers between us—a man whom the Secretary of State will not talk to because he makes his views clear about the sort of violence he would use to achieve his political objectives.

I do not like what Sinn Fein stands for, any more than I like what the parties that differ from me in the House stand for. I particularly dislike the fact that it decides that the way to unite my country is to kill fellow citizens with whom it disagrees. I do not think that it requires great political intelligence to recognise that that only causes far deeper bitterness and division.

The nub of the question—this is where the Government come in—is that if we agree that a political poarty has a legal right to stand for election, and that election takes place, we must treat everybody elected in exactly the same way, whether we like them or not.