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 agree with the hon. Gentleman, and am grateful for what he had to say. He is entirely right that the principle determinants of a permanent peace, if it is achievable, will have been the political parties and the people of Northern Ireland. The role of any British Government, and the role of documents like the framework document, is the role of a facilitator. We will put in front of people ideas that we hope will bring them together, but it is for the political parties to decide whether those are the right ideas for their constituents and for their future, and that is what I hope that they will do.

I will make the point, if I may, even more clearly about the joint framework document. It is not, as the hon. Gentleman implied, there on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. It is not a diktat. It is there for the political parties and the people to accept it, to reject it, or to change it. But it is there for discussion, to bring the parties together, in the way that the hon. Gentleman speaks of.