Workers' Party (Peace Charter)

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th January 1989.

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Photo of Mr Harry Barnes Mr Harry Barnes , North East Derbyshire 12:00 am, 12th January 1989

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement of his policy towards reconciliation in Northern Ireland in the light of the peace charter which has been sent to him by the Workers' party of Ireland.

Photo of Dr Brian Mawhinney Dr Brian Mawhinney Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)

Reconciliation between the two traditions is fundamental to the achievement of lasting peace and stability in Northern Ireland. The improvement of relations between the communities is a key element in the Government's approach. We are encouraged by the Workers' party's forthright rejection of terrorist violence and by its call for dialogue between political representatives in the Province.

Photo of Mr Harry Barnes Mr Harry Barnes , North East Derbyshire

In rejecting all forms of terrorism and struggling for peace in Northern Ireland, the Workers' party is advocating constructive dialogue, the establishment of democratic machinery and procedures throughout Northern Ireland and equal opportunities based upon the elimination of poverty and unemployment. How well do the Government score on that scale?

Photo of Dr Brian Mawhinney Dr Brian Mawhinney Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)

We support in broad principle the sort of proposals included in the Workers' party's peace charter. It may encourage the hon. Gentleman to know that I shall be inviting representatives of the party to talk to me about the proposals.

Photo of Mr Nicholas Budgen Mr Nicholas Budgen , Wolverhampton South West

Would not the course of reconciliation in Northern Ireland be most helped if the people of that Province had the same rights in the legislative procedures in the House as the remainder of the United Kingdom? Is is not an absolute disgrace that the criminal law of Northern Ireland can be changed by order after three hours' debate in the House without an opportunity for reconsideration, receiving the arguments of High Court judges in Northern Ireland or amendment?

Photo of Dr Brian Mawhinney Dr Brian Mawhinney Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office)

I note my hon. Friend's point and I note also that it is made at a time when there are two Bills relating to Northern Ireland passing through the House. If my hon. Friend has constructive proposals to make in terms of Northern Ireland legislation, I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will listen to them.