Northern Ireland (Framework Documents)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 22nd February 1995.

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Photo of Mr John Major Mr John Major , Huntingdon 3:31 pm, 22nd February 1995

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend. I think that he is entirely right about the resentment and concern that was felt in Northern Ireland over the manner of the birth of the Anglo-Irish Agreement. I think that that legacy has haunted subsequent efforts to move towards finding a better way forward in Northern Ireland.

As my right hon. Friend says, the new legislation will be discussed. I hope that it will remove the difficulties that existed at the time of the Anglo-Irish Agreement precisely because it will be discussed and, if legislation proceeds, it will proceed only after that discussion.

I am grateful that we have already received some written proposals from some political parties—the Democratic Unionist party and the Ulster Unionist party—for consideration alongside the framework document. Of course we are prepared to consider them. I hope that we will have the opportunity to consider them with the political leaders themselves, and consider also the propositions that we were asked to provide, and have now provided, in the framework document.