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

While I seek the widest possible consensus to this agreement, what I do not wish to do is seek to place any political party, large or small, beyond the pale of these discussions, providing that they are a legitimate and democratic political party. We seek this wide agreement for the very practical reason that, if we can get the wide agreement, we will win the peace.

What we have learnt from the history of Northern Ireland is that any significant part of the community, if it dissents, can in practice frustrate a move forward. We have learnt that from experience time and time again in recent years. It is for that reason that we will seek the widest possible agreement. I do not wish to specify which particular parties and run through them: I think that we know which the main political parties are. But there are other distinguished voices in Northern Ireland whom one might not regard as a main political party. We would seek to ensure that those distinguished voices were also heard.